IRS more popular than Congress in poll

LOS ANGELES — This is how much Americans dislike Congress:

They like Homeland Security more.

They like federal bureaucrats more.

They like the IRS more. Far, far more.

A newly released Pew Research Center poll gives Congress credit for a rare miracle: uniting Democrats and Republicans. With a sense of agreement rarely seen in recent weeks, all political groups have come to the same conclusion: They dislike Congress overwhelmingly. And all sides agree that the system isn’t the problem — the actual members are.

Only 19 percent say they trust government to do right either always or most of the time, which matches the low last seen in August 2011, during the last congressional dispute over the debt ceiling. No coincidence there.

Yet it’s not everything in Washington that Americans dislike — despite the impression one sometimes gets of a nation rising up with pitchforks in hand. Views of governmental agencies and actions are varied and mostly positive.

Three-fourths of Americans have a favorable view of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for example, a figure almost matched by NASA and the Department of Defense. Of 13 government entities measured, nine had favorability ratings above 60 percent. Only one, the IRS, had a negative profile, with 51 percent disapproving and 44 percent approving of it.

Still — far better than Congress. Only 23 percent of Americans had a favorable view of that institution (unanimity: 23 percent among Republicans, 25 percent among Democrats and 20 percent among independents). Federal workers, often decried as exemplars of inefficiency and worthy of the furlough they just got, were almost three times as popular, with 62 percent of Americans feeling favorable toward them.

Incumbents tend to shrug away such results, since these polls take a national measurement and their elections are local or regional, at most. As has been written endlessly, most members reside in safe districts where their views are largely in sync with the populace, if not with the representative from across the aisle. And voters historically have tended to hate Congress as an institution but appreciate, at least, their own member of Congress.

But if numbers in the poll hold — and that is a big if, with even primary elections months away — at least some of those incumbents have cause to be more concerned.

According to Pew, almost 4 in 10 voters said they did not want their own representative re-elected, a sobering percentage. Before the last two non-presidential elections, both “change” elections that altered the makeup of Congress, the percentage of Americans wanting to upend their member of Congress was in the 20s.

More in Local News

Agencies launch coordinated response to an opioid ‘emergency’

Health workers, law enforcement agencies and emergency managers are responding as they might to a disaster.

Jordan Evers distributes coffee Sunday afternoon during the annual community meal at Carl Gipson Senior Center in Everett on November 19, 2017. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Firefighters serve Thanksgiving meals at Carl Gipson center

The next two feasts at the senior center in Everett will be Thanksgiving Day and Dec. 3.

Pair charged with first-degree robbery in marijuana theft

A man was shot in the head during a holdup that was supposed to net about an ounce of pot.

Planning — and patience — can ease Thanksgiving travel

The Washington State Department of Transportation offers information to help guide planning.

Puffy-coated robbery suspect arrested on Whidbey

The suspect apparently wore the same outfit in 2 robberies at the same place in less than 2 weeks.

Injection sites still banned — County Council doesn’t budge

At a public hearing, more than 15 people said they are opposed to sanctioned areas for using heroin.

Dog shot at Mountlake Terrace house during burglary

A suspect was arrested Friday in Everett for investigation of burglary and first-degree animal cruelty.

Arlington flooding prompts warning to stay off Highway 530

The Stillaguamish River spilled its banks with 6 inches of water over the road Wednesday morning.

Alleged philanderer attacked with hammer near Everett

His girlfriend had accused him of cheating and allegedly called on another man to confront him.

Most Read