An astonishing new poll released on Friday reveals that a majority of Americans have been voting to intentionally worsen Congress with terrible candidates since the 2010 midterms, following a trend that has been spreading virally through the habits of voters since at least 1996.
The twenty-year poll, conducted by a nonpartisan DC think tank in every Congressional election since 1994, reveals that a majority of American voters have apparently “given up” on electing candidates that they believe will be good leaders, and are now using elections and Capitol Hill itself as a form of low-brow entertainment. The voting booth practice has grown more and more popular in recent years, too.
“It seems that as reality TV shows grow more and more popular, so too does the practice of intentionally electing bad candidates simply because of the entertainment value they’ll bring to the table,” said Walter T. Lincoln, the director of the poll/ study, who took up the job in 2004. “People enjoy entertainment that makes them feel smarter, not because they’re learning things of value, but because they’re watching people less intelligent than themselves. This phenomena was limited to just television and professional sports in the past, but it’s apparently been spreading into politics for a while now.”
Quite a long while, actually. According to their polling data, Lincoln says a small minority of Americans intentionally voted for bad candidates in the hopes of entertaining themselves in 1996, and those numbers have grown in every election since. And a majority has been voting with this behavior since 2010.
In 1996, only 0.8% of respondents said they voted to intentionally elect bad candidates for entertainment purposes. This number has grown rapidly ever since, though. In 1998, it was 2.3%. In 2000, it was 17.35% for Congress, while 38% of George W. Bush supporters voted for him for this same reason. Nearly half of Americans voted in favor of comedic candidates in 2008, with the figure reaching 48.91% of voters. That figure was breached in 2010, with 52.54% voting poorly with intent.
“The growth of these numbers has slowed considerably. Only around 55% voted for comedy’s sake in 2012. But the trend is still growing,” Lincoln explained. “If our projections prove to be as accurate in the 2014 midterms as they’ve been since 2008, the 114th Congress will see 58% to 60% of Americans voting for ignorant people. Well, knowingly, that is. We might see political movements to elect Kardashians into Congress in 2016. We’re closing in on that singularity.”