Political Corruption ‘Major Factor’ in Financial Crisis, Poll Shows

Fred Lucas | October 21, 2008 | 7:22pm EDT
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U.S. Capitol (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) – Though not an issue in the 2008 campaign as it was in 2006, a significant majority of Americans think political corruption is a problem in Washington, D.C., according to a recent poll, and they point to it as major cause of the financial crisis.
The Zogby International poll of 1,211 likely voters, commissioned by the conservative public interest group Judicial Watch, showed that 81.7 percent of Americans agree that political corruption played a “major role” in our nation’s financial crisis.
Further, 86.4 percent said they think congressional corruption has increased or remained the same since Democrats took control of Congress in 2006. The corruption issue helped Democrats in that election.
But while most of those polled think corruption has not changed in Washington, they also think that neither presidential candidate is a clear leader to clean up the problems there.
The poll, with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percent, showed that Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama had a slight advantage over his Republican rival John McCain – 46.9 percent to 43.2 percent – on the question of who would best combat government corruption in Washington, but neither candidate surpassed the 50 percent mark.
Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden also had a slight advantage (46.8 percent) over his Republican opponent Sarah Palin (44.7 percent) on the same question, but neither one of them captured a majority of support on the topic.  
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said the candidates should discuss corruption more.
“Our poll shows the presidential candidate who is best seen as able to combat Washington corruption should go on to win the Oval Office,” Fitton said in a statement. “Both Obama and McCain would do well to pay serious attention to the political corruption issues, and better address it in the coming two weeks.”
That was consistent with the partisan trend of the country, according to the poll, as 44 percent said they trust Democrats more than Republicans to combat corruption in Washington, while 37.4 percent said they trust Republicans more.
A majority, 55.9 percent of respondents, said that corruption has “remained the same” since the Democrats took over. Another 30.5 percent said corruption has gotten worse with the Democratic takeover – only 8.5 percent think the Democrats brought in less corruption.
One positive for Republicans in the poll was that 47.5 percent “strongly agree” that “bigger government leads to more corruption,” while another 25.4 percent “somewhat agree.”
Meanwhile, a full 91.9 percent agreed corruption is a “significant problem in Washington, D.C.”
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