February 11th, 2010
08:50 AM ET
4 years ago

Poll: Unhappiness with government highest in 14 years

Two-thirds of Americans are dissatisfied or angry about how the federal government works, the highest level in 14 years, according to a new national poll.
Two-thirds of Americans are dissatisfied or angry about how the federal government works, the highest level in 14 years, according to a new national poll.

Washington (CNN) – Two-thirds of Americans are dissatisfied or angry about how the federal government works, the highest level in 14 years, according to a new national poll.

But the ABC News/Washington Post survey, released Thursday morning, suggests a partisan divide, with 8 out of ten conservative Republicans viewing how the federal government works in a negative way, but nearly 6 out of ten liberal Democrats saying they were enthusiastic or satisfied.

The 67 percent dissatisfaction level is the highest in ABC News/Washington post polling since it peaked at 70 percent in March 1996, in the months after the a federal government shutdown led by Republicans.

So which political party gets blamed for this dissatisfaction? A recent CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll indicated that nearly half the public said they were angry at both political parties, with 11 percent angry only at the Republicans and 9 percent angry only at the Democrats.

The ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted February 4-8, with 1,004 adults questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

– CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report

– Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn


Filed under: Washington
soundoff (84 Responses)
  1. Charlie

    The Repubs are doing everything they can to sabotage effective government. Then they will blame the inaction on the Obama administration. This is a bad precedent because when the Repubs are in office the Dems can do the same thing in retaliation.

    Note to Washington: I pay your salar.ies..both Dems and Repubs....NOW GET TO WORK!!!

    February 11, 2010 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  2. D.U.T.C.H.

    Get rid of the 60 vote majority which causes gridlock and brings Congress to a halt.

    February 11, 2010 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  3. paul

    I guess King Barack isn't as popular as you in the liberal media would have us to believe.

    February 11, 2010 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  4. Dave

    That's funny... I'm happier with the government than I've been in a decade. Things are still bad, but they're improving for the first time in a while. My 401K that went to crap under Bush is headed back upward, our foreign policy is improving, and the economy and unemployment are recovering from the damage done to it in the 'aughts. And we finally have someone who's intelligent and not completely ruled by superstition in the White House, a guy who analyzes data and works out real-life solutions, rather than relying on his imaginary friend to save us through divine intervention. So, while I could be happier and wish the improvements would happen faster, I have more confidence in the government, comparatively, than I have in years.

    February 11, 2010 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  5. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    Thanks Bush/Cheney and the ongoing GOP Obstructionism.

    February 11, 2010 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  6. Charlie in Maine

    Don't misread my dissatifaction. Sure I wish President Obama was better at overcoming the obsatacles that the GOP is putting in his way. I am confidenrt than in time he will get better at that. But make no mistake I put the blame for the mess we are in and the Federal governmemnt's slower than hoped for response squarely on the shoulders of the Republican party and the idiots who support their "just say no agenda". I hope when we "throw the bums out" we do it more with a scapel than a bull-dozer. My rep in congress is excellent and works every day on be-half of the folks who sent her to Waashington. Some don't deserve another term. She does.

    February 11, 2010 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  7. donttreadonme

    I am glad to see people rejecting this idea of big, overwhelming Federal Government forcing their atheist, socialist collectivism ideas on the masses. Using opportunistic interpretations of the Constitution to go against the “will” of the people. Welcome to Liberal America where being PC is no longer a suggestion it is LAW! Where our jobs are disappearing while uncontrolled immigration is not only tolerated, it is encouraged by Lib dems hopping to create millions of new voters at the expense of whom? YOU! Obama and the dems want to vote out the conservatives not by winning over the masses but by creating a new mass.

    February 11, 2010 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  8. Hey Al

    This picture of washington, global warming in action, you dweeb.

    February 11, 2010 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  9. How can they ne mad after all that Obama has accomplished this past year......

    Let's list the successes:

    Closing Gitmo
    Healthcare
    Iran, N. Korea
    Climate Control
    Cap and trade
    Gay marriage rights
    Expanding the war in Afghanistan
    Expanding the war into Yemen
    Unemployment

    Guess Obama is ONE and DONE.
    Go Tea Party.
    Liz Cheney 2012'

    February 11, 2010 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  10. Jim

    This poll suggests I'm not the only one sick of a two party system. The Democrats have been ineffective in managing Congress. The Republicans are just scary and plain untrustworthy. What wonderful choices.

    February 11, 2010 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  11. Big John

    If this is any way true it's an indication of how stupid 2/3s of the country is. Now finally after 8 years of the Bush regime, the Obama administration is trying to correct the nearly bankrupting of this country and to provide health care for millions of people who don't have it or can't afford it. Unfortunately the republicans are so hell bent on seeing President Obama fail they're stonewalling every issue. They're threatening filibuster at every issue, even after the democratic party has met their requests for changes in health care that they recommended. Pathetic truely pathetic.

    February 11, 2010 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  12. Adam

    What government? We had Paulson and now with bank insider protege Geithner....we continue the policy of unelected bank gods that are accountable to nobody.

    If ever there was a puppet...it's Obama.

    February 11, 2010 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  13. Stacie

    Well, until they all decide to act like adults (dems, repubs and independents) and get things done I will continue to be unhappy. Repealing DADT and getting a jobs bill will be a good start. We also NEED health care reform and some common sense regulation of large banks.

    February 11, 2010 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  14. jules sand-perkins

    "So which political party gets blamed for this dessatisfaction?"
    Well, let's see not: President Obama and the Democrats have been in control for over a year now...oh, I know! Of course!
    It's all that horrible old George W. Bush's fault!

    February 11, 2010 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  15. JD from Moraga, CA

    Since ours is ostensibly government "of the people, by the people, and for the people," those surveyed must be unhappy with themselves...that, or they just want to whine about things that they have no intention of trying to change.

    February 11, 2010 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  16. jules sand-perkins

    Isn't any Democratic fan going to comment, "we won, get over it?"

    February 11, 2010 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  17. Rick

    Democrats. Republicans, Liberals, Conservatives, Tea Partiers. What difference does it really make. Politicians are all the same with the same priorities: 1) Themselves; 2) Family or contributors; 3) Contributors or family; 4) Party; 5) Pet project or organization; 6) Local constituents (as long as it does not affect #'s 1-5). The rest of the American people: WHO CARES???

    February 11, 2010 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  18. Rick Sutter

    And yet voters will STILL not vote our their incumbents. We all like to complain about others getting pork but we always vote for our own.

    February 11, 2010 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  19. Kate

    It's easy to be dissatisfied with both political parties, but what I'm really dissatisfied with is how our system works. You will always have dissent on the hill, the real issue is that our system allows one or two angry senators to hold our political process hostage on a whim. How is that democracy?

    February 11, 2010 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  20. Kitchen Police

    Lets see, Obama has been in Office barely over a year and he is supposed to have already fixed all the problems that plague every individual in the country? What ever happened to get off your butt and solve your own problems? Wasn't it President Kennedy that said, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country?"

    February 11, 2010 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  21. terry,va.

    The only people happy with the government are those that lay around with their hand out. Those of us that want to work are not happy. We need jobs, jobs, jobs and Obummie wants to kill jobs with his socialist policies and make us a nanny state. 60% of this country already takes more from the government than they contribute. Obummie is well on his way to pure socialism. Steal from those that contribute and give to those that don't.

    February 11, 2010 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  22. gt

    the congress is as popular as the snow storms....nit wit nancy must go ,,,,she is a lighting rod for all of what wrong in washington,,,

    February 11, 2010 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  23. Sniffit

    as soon as they are afraid of keeping their jobs is the day they are unfit to lead

    VOTE THEM OUT

    Owebama and his clowns just dont get it

    February 11, 2010 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  24. Marie Laveaux

    Never in my fairly long life have I ever seen such hatred and ugliness directed toward any President, including Nixon and Bush. Never have I ever seen such a concerted effort by the minority party to bring a president down. Never has any other President been scrutinized so thoroughly and unfairly. I am not saying that President Obama is perfect, but so far he has, in my opinion, done nothing so henious to be treated like a pariah by the Republicans, other than being elected.
    The fear tactics employed by his detractors have created a wave of mass hysteria that will, if allowd to grow, eventually bring this nation to a halt. Shameful behavior.

    February 11, 2010 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  25. Phillip Bunn

    I will do "several" much better than that. I have been dissatisfied, disappointed, disallusioned, disenfranchised and simply disgusted ever since John F. Kennedy was "removed" from office.

    February 11, 2010 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
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