- The Washington Times - Monday, May 18, 2015

Mr. Ordinary goes to Washington? Americans still dream that some sensible, honest patriot will surface in the heartland, then run for office and rescue the nation. The numbers: 82 percent of U.S. voters say the nation needs to recruit more “ordinary citizens to run for office rather than professional politicians and lawyers” - this according to a new Fox News poll. That includes 84 percent of Republicans, 90 percent of independents and 76 percent of Democrats.

The findings seem to echo “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” the classic political film produced by Frank Capra in 1939 centered on an idealistic young lawmaker. The movie actually premiered in Constitution Hall and included 45 senators among the guests. According to historic accounts, some were less than thrilled with Capra’s suggestion that all was not well in the U.S. Congress.

Meanwhile, the public’s impressions of their politicians is still only tepid at best. Other numbers from the survey:

61 percent overall say political leaders are more interested in protecting their power and privilege over “doing what’s right for Americans”; 63 percent of Republicans, 73 percent of independents and 54 percent of Democrats agree.

61 percent overall are concerned that “scandals would have a serious effect” on Hillary Rodham Clinton’s administration if she won the White House; 78 percent of Republicans, 64 percent of independents and 42 percent of Democrats agree.

38 percent overall are not concerned about the scandals; 20 percent of Republicans, 35 percent of independents and 55 percent of Democrats agree.

51 percent overall are concerned that scandals would seriously affect the next administration if a Republican wins the White House; 47 percent of Republicans, 52 percent of independents and 55 percent of Democrats agree.

46 percent overall are not concerned about such scandals; 51 percent of Republicans, 45 percent of independents and 41 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Fox News poll of 1,006 registered U.S. voters conducted May 9-12.

• Jennifer Harper can be reached at jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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