As a pejorative term, “The Swamp” gained national notoriety during the 2016 Presidential campaign. It beautifully encapsulated what millions of people thought of the powers-that-be in Washington, DC: a murky morass of hidden agendas, backroom deals and broken campaign promises. Whatever the quagmire had become, it certainly wasn’t representing the average American.
A new poll reveals persistent disapproval of the Washington Swamp culture. This disapproval cuts across party and ideological lines. And startlingly, nearly half the respondents believe Republican leadership in Congress supports the very Swamp that President Trump promises to drain.
The “Swamp Poll” taken among 1,000 likely voters in April 2018, was conducted by McLaughlin & Associates on behalf of the Chicago-based Ear to the Ground Listening Project. It was a representative sample of the national population. Sampling included: 36% Democrats, 33% Republicans, 31% Independents, 53% females and 47% males.
Before looking at some of the specific results, it’s important to note that the poll was not just about the Swamp and how it’s defined. It also tested whether or not likely voters perceived Washington, DC as out-of-touch with their level of concern about freedom and individual rights.
When asked, “How concerned are you about the DC Swamp?” 55% (or more than half the country) replied “concerned”, and 36% registered “very concerned.” Broken down along ideological lines, 59% of those identifying as very conservative said they are “very concerned”, whereas 38% of liberals and 26% of moderates said they were “very concerned.”
But when the pollster asked more specifically, “How important is it to eliminate the influence of the network of DC-centric professional bureaucrats, media and insider elites who some call ‘the Swamp’?” the percentage jumped to 60% of respondents who said they were “concerned.”
When asked whom likely voters hold responsible for the Swamp, nearly half (46%) of Americans believe Republican leadership supports the Swamp that President Trump promises to drain. Even more worrisome for GOP leadership are these results: 41% of conservatives, 44% of moderates and 50% of Independents believe GOP leadership supports the Swamp. And among likely voters in States won by President Trump, 45% believe the GOP leadership supports the Swamp.
Likely voters also were asked to name the top three impediments to draining the Swamp. Here are the results:
OVERALL: Lobbyists, GOP Leadership, Bureaucrats
Trump Voters: Media, Democrat Leadership, Lobbyists
Conservatives: Democrat Leadership, Media, Lobbyists
Moderates: Lobbyists, GOP Leadership, Bureaucrats
Liberals: GOP Leadership, Lobbyists, Bureaucrats
President Trump garners greater trust that he will keep his campaign promises (31%) than do Democrats (27%) or Republicans (only 6%). These low numbers show just how strong the headwinds are against substantive change among the nation’s governing class.
Finally, the Swamp Poll offers two other sobering and worrisome statistics: 1) When asked if their elected officials in Washington share their level of concern for threats to their freedom, FIFTY-THREE PERCENT disagreed. 2) When asked if American traditions of freedom and individual rights are being threatened by social movements, public bullying and increasing political violence, EIGHTY PERCENT agreed.
When concerns like these transcend ideological lines and political party labels in such decisive numbers, more unrest at the ballot box is sure to come.