Shutdown: Americans prefer zombies, hemorrhoids, IRS to Congress

At this point, the polls are pretty consistent: Americans are angry about the budget and shutdown shenanigans in Washington, but they’re angrier at Republicans than they are at Democrats. Which should tell you something about who is really to blame for this mess.

But Public Policy Polling took things a step further, asking people whether they preferred Congress to a series of ailments, celebrities, serial killers and oft-loathed government agencies. Here’s what the polling group found:

Americans currently have a higher opinion of witches (46/32), jury duty (73/18) and hemorrhoids (53/31) than Congress. Republicans seem much more accepting of Congress over hemorrhoids compared to other voters -- 41% favored Congress more than the diseases, as opposed to only 25% of Democrats and 27% of Independents.

Even government institutions like the DMV and the IRS are seen as more favorable than Congress currently, at 58/24 and 42/33 respectively. Almost twice as many Republicans still support Congress over the IRS (48/25), while only 23% of Democrats do (23/59).


Half of registered voters have a higher opinion of Congress than of Anthony Weiner right now (50/23). In fact, public figures are some of the only people that registered voters dislike more than the legislature.

Americans thought higher of Congress when asked about Vladimir Putin (49/28), Charles Manson (56/18), Honey Boo Boo (42/33) and Miley Cyrus (36/31) – with “twerking” also four points below Congress at 37/33.

“Congress having an 8% approval rating tells us one thing about how unhappy voters are,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “But it’s even more telling that voters have a lower opinion of it than annoyances like the DMV and jury duty, health issues like hemorrhoids, and even witches.”

A poll like this almost seems like a practical joke, but it’s not. Public Policy Polling did a similar poll earlier this year, during the last debt ceiling fight, said polling specialist Jim Williams. “Our director, Tom Jensen, said ‘Let’s do a poll comparing Congress to a bunch of things people think are terrible. It’s for fun, but it’s not made up.’”

That poll, conducted in January, found Congress less popular than root canals, head lice, colonoscopies and Brussel sprouts.


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