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Alex McRae Columnist

Published Sunday, January 13, 2013

My favorite things

Even the Pope has a few pet peeves. Mostly because he’s human. No one likes every person, place or thing that comes their way.

The Pope may not like sardines. Me, I don’t like broccoli, armadillos or semicolons.

Personal peeves can range from bad manners to cold grits to high opera.

But certain dislikes are widely held. At least among Americans. Recently, Raleigh, N.C.-based Public Policy Polling set out to find out how well people liked the 435 Representatives and 100 Senators that comprise the U.S. Congress.

Since members of Congress are always on TV talking about how hard they work and how good they look and how wonderful they are, they must think they are a swell bunch. According to Public Policy Polling (PPP), they couldn’t be more wrong. Or more disliked.

The latest survey by PPP showed that only 9 percent of Americans had a favorable opinion of Congress.

How bad is that? Consider this: According to the poll, Americans have a higher opinion of cockroaches, root canals, used car salesmen and even head lice.

The survey was developed from a telephone poll taken January 3-6. The poll was not paid for or authorized by a political party or campaign, according to PPP officials.

“We all know Congress is unpopular,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “But the fact that voters like it even less than cockroaches, head lice and Genghis Khan really shows how far its esteem has fallen with the American public over the last few weeks.”

Congressional favorability was measured against 26 things. The findings were only surprising for the woefully misinformed. Here are some of the results showing how well Congress fared when compared to other things:

People preferred head lice to Congress by a rating of 67 to 19.

Brussels sprouts outscored our lawmakers by a 69 to 23 score.

Colonoscopies won by a 58 to 31 margin.

Speaking of medial procedures, root canals were voted more popular than Congress by a 56 to 32 margin.

Used car salespersons have always ranked low in popularity polls, especially the sellers who scream on late night TV. They outscored Congress 57 to 32.

Citizens from coast to coast complain about bad traffic. Guess what? Traffic jams are more popular than Congress by a 56 to 34 margin.

Even France outscored Congress, 46 to 37. Ooh, la-la.

To be fair, some of the contests were squeakers. Donald Trump barely edged out Congress by a 44 to 42 margin.

The universally-reviled cockroach was voted more favorable than Congress, but only by 2 points, at 45 to 43. The roaches probably won because they aren’t seen as often.

You may be wondering just who the 9 percent are that actually have a favorable opinion of Congress. PPP officials said that in the latest poll, women viewed Congress more favorability than men and Democrats considered Congress more likeable than Republicans.

By the way, the group with the most favorable view of Congress—with a 35 percent favorable rating—described themselves as “very liberal.” Draw your own conclusions.

And to Congress’ credit, they did score more favorability that some things they were measured against.

Congress was voted more popular than telemarketers, the Kardashians, the Ebola virus and meth labs.

Must make their mamas proud.

Best of all, Congress was actually voted more popular than gonorrhea.

Can’t wait to see a campaign poster saying: “Vote for me. I’m better than VD.”

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(send your email comments to: alex@newnan.com )

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