Every now and then it’s good for political junkies — or in my case, I guess, a combination junkie/pusher — to be reminded that not everyone (or even a majority of anyones) pays all that much attention to politics. A case in point involves Karl Rove.
Gallup has come out with a new poll that establishes, surprise, surprise, that Rove isn’t all that popular with the American people. This from Gallup:
The poll, conducted July 28-30, finds that 22% of Americans have a favorable opinion of Rove, while 38% have an unfavorable opinion and the rest either don’t know who Rove is, or don’t know enough about him to have an opinion. This is a continuation of the pattern observed across the five Gallup surveys that have included measurements of Rove’s image since July 2005; Americans’ ratings of Rove always have been more negative than positive. Rove’s current net favorable rating (the percentage rating him favorably minus the percentage rating him unfavorably) is -16, which is more positive than the -28 net rating in April and is roughly the same as in two polls in October 2005.
All of the findings are interesting, certainly, but what’s most striking to me is the percentage of respondents who have no opinion: According to the poll, about 40% of Americans “either don’t know who Rove is, or don’t know enough about him to have an opinion.” Wow.
Now, if we were talking about just any old presidential assistant or cabinet member even, this wouldn’t be surprising. But Karl Rove? He is unquestionably one of the most widely discussed political figures of our time.
How could anyone even occasionally watch a television news program, read a paper or even tune into the late night talk shows, without knowing a bundle about Karl Rove?
While perhaps not a new observation, this still represents a level of public disinterest in the workings of democracy that is nothing short of staggering. And when you remember that it’s these very people who ultimately decide who governs this nation, well, it can almost make you cry.