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-- Generally speaking, when it comes to important national issues, whose judgment do you trust more - the American people or America’s political leaders?
-- Some people believe that the federal government has become a special interest group that looks out primarily for its own interests. Has the federal government become a special interest group?
-- Do government and big business often work together in ways that hurt consumers and investors?
To create a scale, each response earns a plus 1 for the populist answer, a minus 1 for the political class answer, and a 0 for not sure.
Those who score 2 or higher are considered a populist or part of the Mainstream. Those who score -2 or lower, are considered to be aligned with the Political Class. Those who score +1 or -1 are considered leaners in one direction or the other.
Preliminary results indicate that 55% of Americans can be classified on the populist or Mainstream side of the divide. Only seven percent (7%) side with the Political Class. When leaners are included, 75% lean in the Mainstream direction and 14% lean the other way.
Thirty-seven percent (37%) of those on the populist side of the debate are Republicans, 36% are Democrats, and 27% are not affiliated with either major party.
Twenty-two percent (22%) of government employees are aligned with the Political Class along with just four percent (4%) of private sector workers.
The biggest surprise so far is that a plurality of the Political Class believes the economy is getting better while 66% of those in the Mainstream say it’s getting worse.