Poll: Congress Now Less Popular than Hipsters

Apparently, the only thing worse than a self-indulgent do-nothing twenty-something is a self-indulgent, do-nothing Congress


Well, it’s official. After years of partisan bickering, below-the-belt attacks and an inability to find common ground on something as simple and obvious as providing relief to hurricane survivors, the reputation of the U.S. Congress has fallen so low in the eyes of the American public that hipsters are now more popular that federal legislators.

That’s right, the beanpole iconoclast in skinny jeans and dollar-store Wayfarers, the urban woodsman with his rooftop kale, and yes, even that guy who knits at Rocket Cat Cafe are more appealing to the average American than the people they voted for to represent them.

That’s the word from Public Policy Polling, which on Tuesday released the results of a survey gauging the popularity of our governing body against a host of unsavory people and substances, and determined that there are few things less revolting that partisan obstinance. Last year, PPP was rated as one of the most accurate polling organizations–beating out both Gallup and Rasmussen in its election predictions. Its methodology has come under some scrutiny recently, but it hardly takes a Nate Silver to see which way the wind is blowing in Washington. All you have to do is follow the stench.

The news isn’t all bad. According to PPP, Congress is still more palatable than Anthony Wiener, Vladimir Putin and Ebola; but, oddly enough, dog poop trumped the legislature in popularity by a comfortable seven-point margin. And Wall Street–which only two years ago provoked a near revolution on the streets of New York–drew an approval rating 31 percentage points higher than congressional lawmakers.  Even potholes hold a higher place in our hearts than the people we’ve hired to fill them.

As a resident of the Fishtown-Kensington section of the city–ground zero of Philly’s hipster culture–what really caught my attention, however, is how well my young neighbors seem to be faring in the realm of public opinion these days–at least in a comparative sense. When respondents were asked what they have a higher opinion of, hipsters or Congress, PBR-drinkers beat CR-debaters 42% to 33%, with a quarter undecided.  Don’t worry, hipsters still scored lower than public radio fund drives, witches and hemorrhoids; but, keeping in mind that just six months ago more than a quarter of Americans believed that young, bearded malcontents should be subjected to a special tax for being so annoying, the poll data serves as minor vindication for a culture that surely has no use for it. Surveys are so average, after all.

Yet by being merely annoying instead of negligent, unyielding and destructive, hipsters have managed to achieve a status higher than the architects of public policy. Apparently the only thing worse than this guy:

is this one:

It’s easy to see why. On a scale of malcontentedness, our current crop of legislators–House Republicans in particular–take the cake. The 112th House of Representatives was ranked the least productive in terms of legislation passed than any other session since historians began keeping track. If that’s not bad enough, House members kept their wheels spinning on go-nowhere endeavors like trying to repeal Obamacare–casting more than 1,600 votes last session, the fifth highest vote total on record. Put simply, they spent infinitely more time doing infinitely fewer things.  Maybe Congress and hipsters have something in common after all.

News of the PPP poll has breathed life into an obscure Twitter hashtag first introduced in 2010 that has seen a spike in activity since Tuesday.  For your reading enjoyment, here’s a selection of the top tweets at #hipstercongress: