What do voters think affects the way U.S. politicians vote?
Throw out your high school American goverment textbooks and Schoolhouse Rock videos because the views of their constituents and the politicians' own consciences came in tied for dead last.
That was the result of a question in last week’s Greenberg Quinlan Rosner/Democracy Corps polling of likely voters in the country’s top battleground House districts.
At the top of the list were special interests and lobbyists as well as campaign contributors. Five to six times as many voters thought these groups were top influences compared to constituent concerns.
Respondents were asked, "which TWO do you think have the most influence on how members of Congress vote?” and given six options: special interest groups and lobbyists, campaign contributors, party leaders, views of their constituents, their own conscience, and the media.
Sixty-five percent said special interests groups and lobbyists, 52 percent said contributors, an increase from post-election polling last November (59% and 46%, respectively). Just 11 percent said members of Congress said constituents or conscience has the most influence.
Those numbers are essentially the same across age groups, whether you're a Democratic or Republican, or whether you live in a Democratic or Republican district.
Maybe that's why lobbyists and members of Congress edge out car salesmen to be considered the least ethical and honest professions in the country, according to a new Gallup poll out on Monday.
Members of Congress should show their constituents they want to fix this problem and support legislation to empower the voices of everyday people through a blend of small donations and public funds. As Huffington Post reported in October, Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.) will introduce a new bill soon to do just that.
Written with Kurt Walters