Speed Reads

democracy?

Study: Average citizens have practically zero influence on government policy

A forthcoming study from political scientists at Princeton and Northwestern University suggests that the "estimated impact of average citizens' [policy] preferences drops precipitously, to a non-significant, near-zero level" when taking into account the preferences of interest groups and the economic elite. Additionally, among interest groups, those representing corporate interests, not mass-based organizations, are generally the most influential.

While the study's data may not be common knowledge, it is perhaps not surprising that poll after poll shows American mistrust of government is at an all-time high, with fewer than 20 percent of Americans trusting Washington most or all of the time. Meanwhile, the congressional approval rating remains low, at just 13 percent.