While Americans often display more fealty to consumer brands than to their elected representatives, this doesn’t dampen their suspicion of big business as a political force. A new Harris poll finds 86 percent of adults saying big companies have too much power and influence in Washington. Just 5 percent said the same of small business. (No wonder so many mega-corporations market brands that pretend to come from mom-and-pop companies.) Political action committees that fund candidates fared marginally better than big business, with 83 percent of the respondents saying PACs wield too much influence. Although political lobbyists have plenty of detractors (cited by 71 percent), they have fewer than the news media (77 percent). A majority of respondents (57 percent) said television and radio talk shows exert too much influence in Washington, as if that power were somehow independent of the audience such shows succeed or fail at attracting. Then again, it’s not as if the public itself comes off unscathed here. Harris found 14 percent of the respondents saying “public opinion” has to much power and influence in the nation’s capital. On the other hand, 73 percent believe it has too little.
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