Seven in 10 Americans feel that the U.S. government is only working to benefit the rich and powerful, a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found.
Responding to whether they feel “angry” that the political system “only seems to be working for the insiders with money and power,” 43 percent of respondents said the statement describes their feelings “very well” and 23 percent said it “somewhat” described their feelings.
That’s about the same as a poll conducted in October 2015 as the Barack Obama era neared its end and then-candidate Donald Trump’s anti-establishment rhetoric was just beginning to take hold of the Republican base. Despite two very different presidents, the overall animus of voters toward Washington insiders hasn’t subsided one bit.
With Trump in the White House, resonance with the statement fell 10 percent among Republicans but climbed among Democrats by the same margin.
These suspicions have been backed up by recent political science research, as one 2015 study from Princeton University’s Martin Gilens and Northwestern University’s Benjamin I. Page found the policy preferences of economic elites and special interest groups have a high chance of becoming law, while public opinion has almost no correlation with legislative outcomes at all.
The same poll also shows most Americans are still feeling “anxious and uncertain” about the economy despite what some have called a “booming economy” with low unemployment and a record-breaking stock market. Still, concerns about the health of the economy may be justified with the threat of a global recession looming and the U.S. trade war with China continuing to escalate.