Have you been watching the wall to wall coverage of the cabinet confirmation hearings? If so, good for you! It turns out that you’re in a fairly select group because a new survey from Pew Research tells us that roughly two thirds of the country couldn’t name a single Trump nominee if their lives depended on it. (Government Executive)
President-elect Donald Trump might be a celebrity, but a new survey indicates that his picks for Cabinet and other high-level positions have a long way to go toward achieving widespread name-recognition.
Just over one-third of Americans (34 percent) surveyed by the Pew Research Center last week were able to name one person Trump has selected for a top post. When respondents were able to come up with a name, Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions was the most popular response (10 percent named him), followed closely by Secretary of State pick Rex Tillerson and Housing and Urban Development nominee Ben Carson (each at 9 percent).
The results might seem surprising given the level of discussion in Washington over Trump’s nominees, but they are actually higher than the name-recognition for then President-elect Bill Clinton’s nominees in January 1993.
The single nominee most people could name was Jeff Sessions. I suppose that makes sense because he was one of the first on the docket and the SJW has been out in force fighting against his nomination. Beyond that, the only other name showing up fairly frequently was Rex Tillerson.
More broadly, does this information really come as a shock to anyone? It probably shouldn’t. As the article goes on to remind us, barely 20% of Americans could name one of Clinton’s nominees in 1993. And to be honest, it’s not just the nominees during the heat of the confirmation process. How many people do you think are able to name all or even most of the current members of Obama’s cabinet? As I was reading the article I took a moment to test myself and ran down the list of department chiefs. I’m not talking about advisors and such here, but just the top dogs for each of the cabinet level departments. I realized that I had forgotten the names of Agriculture, Commerce, HHS, Transportation and Education. And I cover this stuff for a living.
And now we’re talking about people who aren’t even in those positions yet but have merely been nominated… many of whom haven’t even begun their hearings. Is it really all that shocking that Americans don’t know them? There’s also the commonly accepted fact that most of the country (aside from the hard core political geeks) is probably sick of the subject after that endless election and have turned their televisions back to Sports Center or The Bachelor and simply don’t care.
We might wish it were different, but this Pew survey is actually just business as usual in America. Elections tend to get people riled up and taking to the streets, but once they are over, the majority of Americans go back to their daily lives and prefer not to wallow in the swamps of the Beltway. Cable news networks’ ratings tend to decline and the number of people clicking on articles from the major newspapers go down as well. Welcome to an odd numbered year.