A Question of Legitimacy??

Look at enough polls and you are struck with the perception that there is a hard 23% to 26% who support a progressive agenda, regardless of the details, issues or personalities.  That may be true on the other side as well but its defining lines are not so easily drawn nor as consistently evident.

That number has come up again.  Rasmussen Reports asked voters whether they believe that the federal government today has the consent of the governed.  23% say yes, there’s that number again!  62% say no, 15% remain unsure.  Of those with an opinion 73% believe that the federal government does not enjoy the consent of the governed.

That 73% by definition must transcend party or ideological self description.  73% says that our current Federal Government is on the verge of being considered illegitimate by public consensus.  In America polling is as close as we get to a parliamentary style “no confidence” vote!  What is yet more telling is these numbers have remained strikingly consistent for six months.  Opinions have clearly hardened and are unlikely to be susceptible to some manner of new messaging aimed at altering those opinions by more than a couple of points one way or another. 

Telling as well is Rasmussen polling reflecting that on the issue of fundamental legitimacy there is no gender gap and barely an age gap with those under 30 representing only five points higher on the general question of legitimacy.  Moderates, who can reasonably be interpreted as the independent core, agree with the illegitimacy issue by 58%.  That number stacks up consistently with the vanishing support of independents for the current administration.  It also supports the idea that America is a center-right nation beginning to push back against what they perceive as leftist governance.   

The media confusion (really?) regarding the ongoing assertion of a disconnect between personal popularity and policy is a pundit’s Potemkin Village in the context of these numbers.  Personality versus policy is rendered unimportant when governance becomes a question of legitimacy.  While true that some measure of this perception rests on behaviors in Congress the President allowed it to happen, taking what he could get and typically voicing full throated support for Congressional initiatives.

More dramatic still are the number of Americans who fundamentally support the political class; 4% believe that it’s better to trust the political class than the public in general.  This number may be the most dramatic indicator that Americans are moving to a more conservative view of the world in reaction to what they see in the present.

76% of voters trust the American people more so than political leaders, the converse of than number is 24%; there is that number again!  71% view the Federal government as a “special interest group”.  Democrats, Republicans and Independents are all over the 50% line on these questions.

Public opposition to the administrations agenda has been cast aside in a variety of ways and consistently so over the past year and a half.  These numbers represent a variety of dynamics.  First, Americans clearly feel that they have been subjected to governance outside of the mainstream, secondly the perception that the public voice has been disregarded consistently and with malice.  Finally these numbers reflect the fact that the impact of substance is overwhelming the charisma of form.