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. Dar

    Two thirds is a pretty big number of unhappy people. I think we are going to see a lot of new faces come election time.

    2010/2012 REAL Change is coming.

    February 11, 2010 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  2. The lonely Libertarian of Liverpool NY

    Vote Congress out, “you are fired” if they are in. Vote them out this fall no matter what party they belong to, and in the next election and every election going forward until they become the servants of the people once more.

    February 11, 2010 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  3. Jimmy James

    Yet another poll where Liberals will call anyone who disagrees "morons" and claim " Who did they poll? They didn't call me". This country hates Washington right now. We hated it 2 years ago and voted for a little thing called " change" that Obama promised. He has done NOTHING in his first year except divide the country more and drive up the debt. He needs to be like Clinton and actually listen to the voters. Clinton actually worked as a bipartisan President. He had Republican congress after 94. Obama has had a super majority his first year and has done NOTHING. He will continue to think his policies are fine and that the American public just doesn't understand them. We understand them and don't like them.

    February 11, 2010 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  4. Anonymous

    We lost country. It is not USA like use to. We got naive president, who don't have any deal what to do.

    February 11, 2010 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  5. GI Joe

    Let me add my name to the list of people that are totally fed up with the obstructionists holding up every bit of business in D.C. They have no ideas, did nothing for 8 years, and now blame and cricisize everything they can. I'm sick of it. VOTE THEM OUT.

    February 11, 2010 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  6. MarianneM

    You know what I believe I'm beginning to miss George Bush!

    February 11, 2010 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  7. Chad from Tampa

    And I guess this poll result has nothing to do with the fact that the Democrats have total control of the House, Senate and White House... It must be those nasty Republicans.

    February 11, 2010 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  8. Roger

    Somehow Washington still doesn't get it. With the so-called leader of the country acting as a "used car salesperson" it is no wonder. Time after time Obama makes statements, to wit: sanctions of Iran if they don't relinquish its nuclear ambitions by December, 2009 - no substance in this threat; closing the Big G in one year - still not closed, etc. Obama's credibility on his committments are "zero" and his so-called policies are disastrous and leading us to disastrious consequences - now and in the future. It is no wonder that nothing is getting done. All his campaign promises were mere deceptions – reminds me of the popcorn theory - a lot of noise and no substance. But what can you expect from a Chicago politician with no executive experience.

    February 11, 2010 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  9. katiec

    The republicans are holding up the passage of 200 plus bills and 60 appointees. There has never before in the history of our country been a political party that has obstructed anything and everything. A party with goals to destroy our president, party first , win at any cost, totally sacrificing the American people with their unAmerican, irresponsible tactics and activity.
    Of course people are unhappy, but the sad thing is that some actually believe the propaganda, hypocrasy and dishonorable, unethical lies, distortions being spewed by the party of NOthing.
    Thankfully many are intelligent enough to see through their sewer tactics, fear mongering and self serving goals.
    They are well on their way to becoming our countries most dangerous domestic terrorists, out to destroy our country and us.
    The American people must stand strong and tell the party of NO, No more!!

    February 11, 2010 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  10. Jerry - Florida

    Mr. NObama, hopefully this will convince you to watch and reconsider your idiotic moves a little closer. Start paying attention and respecting the concerns and wishes of the American voters. Also, we'll be watching whether you really want to work with the Republicans or you and your cohorts (Bobble Head/Plastic Pelosi, Senile Reed, etc., etc.,) are in the process of setting a trap for them.

    Last but not least, you need to stop ramming your policies down American's throats. DO NOT ram your nominees/appointees down people's throats. As you well know, the fact is that some of your nominees/appointees have "checkered credentials." Otherwise, this will all come back to haunt you. The American people are tired of your smoke and mirror policies.

    In case you or anyone else is wondering, YES, I am a life-long Democrat.

    Stay tuned!!!

    February 11, 2010 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  11. Chad from Tampa

    How could anyone come to the conclusion that Republicans are to blame? They have ablsolutely no voice, they are in the minority in both the House and Senate.. Common sense people...

    February 11, 2010 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  12. Rick McDaniel

    Government has become more about the political machines, than about democracy.

    Some recent activities, actually smack of dictator-like efforts, in law making.

    This country's government, is in major trouble.

    February 11, 2010 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  13. Dean

    But you will continue to elect the same old losers.

    February 11, 2010 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  14. ricky atlanta

    I blame the GOP for everything!!! i'll never vote for a Republican AGAIN!!!

    February 11, 2010 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  15. Brian

    I think this reflects more on the process of governing than the individuals themselves. Poll after poll shows that most people like their own Congressman or woman, but they don't like Congress in general. People just hate the fact that their personally elected Representative can't escort their special interests directly to the White House and pass a law tailored to their individual beliefs.

    Americans are beginning to have a true misunderstanding of how democracy and justice truly work. We take out our anger on government as a whole any time something we personally support isn't put into law, regardless of what the rest of the country thinks. I'm not always ecstatic about government, but I understand how a democracy works and I accept the consequences of a slow, inefficient system. After all it's better than a fast moving, highly-efficient totalitarian dictatorship.

    February 11, 2010 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  16. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert but...

    Is this surprising? Government policies have favored the rich for decades. The working class and poor have always known this. It's only now that the poverty is trickling up to the disappearing middle class that Joe 12-pack is getting angry. Even the mighty propaganda machine of the ruling elite can not hide the facts much longer, only buy a little time by redirecting this neo-populist anger at big bad government and creeping "socialism" instead of where it sould be directed: global capitalism. How's that trickly downy thing workin' out for ya? Sure, tax cuts create jobs. In China. Have a nice day!

    February 11, 2010 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  17. Ryan

    The change we need has been slow thanks to the Republicans abusing power yet again. If Obama wanted to pass a law that said we all were entitled to one free coffee a year.... they'd vote 'No'.

    It doesn't matter what he's trying to pass, it really doesn't... they sent the memo out after he kicked ass in the election that literally stated "whatever his agenda, say NO."

    If filibustering more in one year than any year in the history of Congress is any indication that the GOP are obstructing progress...for their personal gain and lust for power...then there ya go.

    February 11, 2010 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  18. Quit taking my taxes

    This is America not Cuba so of course people are not happy. Barry wants to bring every body down so they have to turn to people who have never worked a day in there life and now run the goverment. The problem with socialism is you eventually run out of other peoples money to spend!!!!!!!!!

    February 11, 2010 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  19. Mitt Romney rules!

    It's because Obama was unprepared to handle real problems. He entered office determined to pass his agenda... no matter what the general population wanted.

    People voted for a different political climate, not a different country. And now that Obama knows it, he still isn't changing his game.

    February 11, 2010 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  20. Alfalfa

    I am more dissatisfied with what our society is turning out in the way of educated future leaders for our Nation. If you asked 10 people in Public something regarding our Constitution, 8 of them would be clueless. Anyone ever wonder why Hollywood continues to make remakes of remakes or bases major production on Comic book heros? What happened to something that actually caused one to think or follow a plot? I believe if you listen closely, you can hear the swooshing of our society as we slide into the abyss of social decay. Who be my baby daddy now seems to be the catch phrase on MTV, what happended?

    February 11, 2010 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  21. Marco V

    Interesting on how Fox News (i.e Sean Hannity) claims more American people are upset with Democrats vs Republicans. As usual they never get the facts right!

    February 11, 2010 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  22. Liz

    The American people need to pay attention to who caused the mess they're angry about, the republican'ts, and who's trying to fix it, the Democrats! It's obvious from the comments i read on this site that there are a lot of gullible people out there who swallow whatever propaganda the 'right' pumps thru their swill machine. Obama is not a socialist. the people spuoting this charge don't even know what the word means. we have a right to be angry when government becomes dysfunctional, but the dysfunction is coming from the right, the very ones who made the mess we're all so angry about. direct your anger at the source of the problem and vote them out!

    February 11, 2010 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  23. mac from pa

    9.? percent unemployment and they still have their jobs no matter how bad the econ is and WE still foot the bill.
    any job I ever had where I didnt get my job done I didnt get paid.

    FIRE THE LOT OF THEM AND START OVER FROM BARRY BOI TO THE MAYORS

    February 11, 2010 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  24. Mickey

    It's no wonder, with the emergence of the this new domestic terrorist group called the GOP...

    February 11, 2010 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  25. Danny

    I understand and share people's frustration with the way the federal government operates, but the outright hatred some seem to have for President Obama is appalling. One would think he attacked another country under false pretenses, authorized the torture of "enemy combatants", ignored the basic tenets of our Constitution, and presided over the worse economic meltdown our country has seen since the Great Depression! How about any of the Obama bashers tell me how the country is in worse shape now than it was in January 2009. Doesn't anyone remember that the "Great Recession" was in full force then? It's not like it just started the day he took office.

    February 11, 2010 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
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