Most People Think Congress Is Great At Representing Wealthy, But Not The Less Well-Off

Most Americans don't think that members of Congress -- a majority of whom are millionaires -- do a good job of representing the less well-off, according to the results of a new HuffPost/YouGov poll.

While 87 percent say the wealthy are somewhat or very well represented in Congress, just 19 percent say the same is true for people who have trouble making ends meet.

Chart created using Datawrapper

Few think people at their own income level are well-represented in Congress, no matter what that income level is. Just 21 percent living in households making less than $40,000 see themselves as well-represented. That number is 18 percent for people in households making $40,000 to $80,000, and 27 percent of those making more than $80,000.

There's a divide, however, on whether lawmakers who are personally wealthy can understand the interests of lower-income Americans. Overall, 30 percent of Americans think those representatives can do a good job of representing people trying to make ends meet, while 46 percent say they can't, and another 24 percent are uncertain.

Americans in households making less than $40,000 a year are 21 points more likely to say that wealthy lawmakers can't do a good job representing the poor than to say that they can do so. Among households making more than $80,000, the gap is just 4 points.

Chart created using Datawrapper

There's evidence that lower-income Americans are politically underrepresented in other ways. A Pew Research study released last week found that America's least financially secure residents are also the most disenfranchised, with just above half registered to vote, and even fewer expected to turn out in elections. They were also less likely than those with more financial stability to contact elected officials, or to know which party was in power.

In the HuffPost/YouGov poll, however, 70 percent of Americans say that lawmakers have a responsibility to represent even people who don't vote in elections.

The HuffPost/YouGov poll was conducted Jan. 8-11 among 1,000 U.S. adults using a sample selected from YouGov's opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population. Factors considered include age, race, gender, education, employment, income, marital status, number of children, voter registration, time and location of Internet access, interest in politics, religion and church attendance.

The Huffington Post has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls. You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov's nationally representative opinion polling. Data from all HuffPost/YouGov polls can be found here. More details on the poll's methodology are available here.

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