We still love our trains – even when they don’t run on time


Despite performance issues, Amtrak favorability remains high. (Photo by Steve Snowden/Getty Images for Amtrak)

Yesterday we asked you how you feel about Amtrak - whether you love it, hate it, or love-hate it. The results are in, and they are unequivocal — Amtrak lovers outnumbered the haters more than 6-to-1 in our poll. Love-haters made up the remaining third of respondents.


Chris is being something of a sore loser by suggesting that Emily orchestrated a pro-Amtrak ballot stuffing campaign to skew the results. While it's true that a Wonkblog web poll is in no way a representative sample of Americans, these results do generally comport with a 2013 survey conducted by Public Policy Polling that found 46 percent of Americans held a favorable view of Amtrak, compared to only 13 percent with an unfavorable view. Most politicians would kill for a similar favorability rating.

Based on responses on Twitter and in the comments, many people still say that taking the train beats flying or driving along the I-95 corridor, even considering the cost of tickets and the occasional long delays. Others cited memorable cross-country rail journeys they had taken in the past.

Whether Amtrak aficionados can use this sentiment to convince a stingy, skeptical Congress to come up with a lasting fix to the railway's perpetual funding problems is another question. Congress does appear poised to pass at least one piece of Amtrak-related legislation this year: the Pets on Trains Act of 2013, which would allow dogs and cats on certain Amtrak routes, currently has a 74 percent change of passage, according to GovTrack.

Emily Badger is a reporter for Wonkblog covering urban policy. She was previously a staff writer at The Atlantic Cities.
Christopher Ingraham writes about politics, drug policy and all things data. He previously worked at the Brookings Institution and the Pew Research Center.
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