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Who’s Too Close to Whom?

by Ruy Teixeira

The latest Newsweek poll has some interesting results on which political parties are viewed as too close to which interest groups. The poll tested reactions to six groups: big business; labor unions; oil companies; the legal profession; rich people; and minority interest groups. Interestingly, while the public overwhelmingly believes that the Republican party is “too close” to big business (73 percent), oil companies (70 percent) and rich people (68 percent), there are no similarly lop-sided sentiments about the Democratic party. The highest number the Democrats get is for labor unions, where 52 percent see the Democrats as being too close, followed by 48 percent who feel the same way about the Democrats and minority groups. Finally, and counter-intuitively, the survey shows identical judgements on whether the Democrats and Republicans are too close to the legal profession. For each party, the public is exactly split, 43-43, on whether that party is too close to the legal profession.

A couple of other intriguing results from the poll are worth flagging. When asked whether they see Bush more as a good manager who focuses on what's important and delegates well or as a bad manager who doesn't know enough about what's going on around him and below him, the public opts for the bad manager characterization, 49-43. And when asked whether the Department of Homeland Security has made Americans safer, a 49-45 plurality says the Department has not made Americans safer.