Conservatives Blame GOP Congress for Lack of Progress on Trump Agenda

Poll shows activists on the Right point finger not at president but squarely at Capitol Hill

by Margaret Menge | Updated 18 Jul 2017 at 6:43 AM

The majority of conservative activists in a major online poll said they blame the political establishment for stopping President Donald Trump’s agenda, more even than they blame the media.

The survey of 3,200 conservatives nationwide was done by the group Convention of States Action, an interest group led by Mark Meckler, a co-founder of Tea Party Patriots. Those surveyed were members of the organization: About 35 percent of them are or were Tea Party activists.

“In general they agree with Trump’s policies, and they’re unhappy with Congress,” said Meckler. “They’re giving Trump a pass because Congress was really bad before Trump and they’re really bad now, and it’s the same with [the] media.”

Meckler founded and serves as president of Convention of States Action, a 501(c) organization working to invoke Article V of the U.S. Constitution to call for a convention of at least 34 states to rein in the federal government and enact term limits on members of Congress. Twelve states are on board so far, with 22 more needed.

In the survey, 51 percent of respondents said they believe Congress will continue to block Trump, while 49 percent said they think Trump will ultimately succeed in getting his agenda through.

When asked whom they think is to blame for the inability to accomplish anything in Washington, the conservatives ranked the "political establishment" highest, the media next, and Trump last.

"I'm in constant communication with conservative activists all over the country, all the time," said Meckler. "Everybody knows that the Democrats are just in opposition all the time." The ones the conservatives are really upset with, he added, are the Republican leaders of the House and Senate.

"They're just dishonest and disingenuous," he told LifeZette. "They have the absolute power to stop things or fund things and they just choose not to do it."

Key elements of Trump's agenda — most notably health care and tax reform — have made sluggish progress in the Republican-led Congress. The president's proposals to dramatically cut spending at most federal agencies have also been rebuffed by members of Congress, with a continuing resolution passed to fund the government in early May that was such a spending giveaway that it was enthusiastically embraced by the DNC and by the Democratic leadership.

In a recent YouGov poll, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan had a 33 percent favorable percent approval rating, 11 points worse than Trump. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's approval rating was even worse than Ryan's, however, with just 24 percent of those surveyed saying they view him favorably.

Overall, the approval rating of Congress is 20 percent in the latest poll, which Gallup conducted July 5-9. A month earlier, the same poll showed a 21 percent favorable rating for Congress. Meanwhile, the Direction of the Country polls show that more likely voters believe the country is going in the right direction than they did when Barack Obama was president.

The polling firm Rasmussen has consistently noted in its Direction of the Country tracking polls since Trump took office that for most of 2015, Obama's last year in office, the percentage of likely voters who said they thought the country was headed in the right direction was in the mid to upper 20s.

The percentage of likely voters who say the country is going in the right direction has been in the 30s and 40s since Trump took office in January. It has never dipped below 30.

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