Let’s look at the numbers. The poll found that just 13 percent of Americans feel representatives in Congress are primarily interested in serving the people they represent, while 80 percent believe members are primarily interested in serving special interest groups. While that perception is longstanding, it has worsened since 1990, when 20 percent said members seek to serve their constituents and 71 percent said they seek to serve special interests.

Similarly, Americans have long felt they have little say in government. But the trends are troubling: While 58 percent said they have little say in what government does in 1990, that figure has risen to 69 percent today. In the new survey, 85 percent say that people like them had too little influence on American life.