Over the past year, if you've been reading the news, you've probably seen a series
about Congress. Americans like Congress less than they like head lice, traffic jams, hemorrhoids, or Nickelback. (They did like Congress better than Lindsay Lohan.)
It's a funny anecdote, but it's also kind of perplexing. I mean, who would commission a poll like this? Are there social scientists, or even politicians, sitting in their office saying, "Quick! I need a chart that compares Congress to Genghis Khan"?
The survey was conducted by an organization called Public Policy Polling. They tend to lean to the left, and they tend to favor the Democrats. According to Wikipedia
, they've done surveys on "the approval rating of God" and "whether Republican voters believe President Obama would be eligible to enter heaven in the event of the Rapture." They've been the subject of a certain amount of controversy
, and some people question their poll results
. So as far as I can tell, the main point of the survey was to get people to write news stories saying that Congress is less popular than cockroaches or Donald Trump.
The most interesting thing about the news stories is how few of them provide background information about Public Policy Polling. They just present the survey data with no critical analysis or context of any kind. That's the kind of news report we get these days: amusing anecdotes and sensationalized talking points. The reporters probably said, "It's a goofy filler story. We don't need to provide context," and they're probably right. I just wish I could be sure they would provide context when they're writing about our health care system.