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. Julie

    You bet, I'm dissatisfied. Our country is sickeningly divided, in huge part due to the media and it's endless quest for ratings through sensationalism and hate/fear-loaded articles. Never have I witnessed so much hatred and disrespect for a president. Regardless of ones beliefs, it's unpatriotic to bash a president in such immature ways. There is so much name-calling and nastiness and this does not do anything to improve any of the issues. It appears as though our two-party system cannot work together. Both parties grandstand and it looks as though the Reps are more interested in seeing the current administration fail than they are concerned with getting anything done. It's depressing and it's hard to see how things will get any better. A good start might be to do what's best for the country, not the party or to secure re-election.

    February 11, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  2. JCQueipo

    Congress have to work for the people, NOT the other way around !!!

    Is going to take decades before we can get rid of the lobbyist and special interest culture !!

    February 11, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  3. Scott, Tucson

    One problem is that the politicians are mostly elitist snob lawyers who really could care less for the American people and their only interest is whats in it for them and what they can squeeze out fortunes from their lobbyists. It's odd that someone can enter the Congress with nothing more than his/her congressional salaries and years later leave as a multi millionaire.

    We the people really do have congressional term limits over our politicians, it's called voting the bums out regardless of party.

    February 11, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  4. Fitz in Texas

    And if the Obama media would report the news and the truth, give the real facts to the American people, I dare say there would much more than just two-third of Americans that are dissatisfied and angry with the federal government.

    February 11, 2010 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  5. Glenn Koons

    Unfhappy with....Obama's policies! The Leftist socialist pacifists in the Dem Party, and that is about all of them, have overreached. They have tried socialist European views that are frankly un-American and do not promote liberty or freedom of choice and Obama is simply too radical and tone deaf as well as being inept and inexperienced to see it. As Reagan said, government is not the solution to our problems, it is the problem.

    February 11, 2010 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  6. Ron in California

    Who is in power...until recently the DEMS had the house and the Senate both and could get anything done except spending? We need to roll back spending and focus on the core issue....jobs and the economy. We don't need a new jobs bill lets refocus the Stimulus money into real private sector jobs by investing in the private sector. For example...NASA budget killed. Bad Idea. Do you know many many of the things we take for granted today are a direct result of private sector innovation related to the space program.

    February 11, 2010 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  7. Jill-IN

    Not surprising after the terrible financial meltdown of September 2008. What is surprising is that people will not direct their anger at the criminals in banks and investment companies that develop and sell risky schemes and gamble with other peoples money and futures. Right now in this quarter they are paying themselves record bonuses and they and we are barely out of the woods.

    February 11, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  8. Brenda

    All government depts. have been spending tons of money since 9/11/2001 setting up alternative workspaces, including virtual workspaces, laptops with docking stations, etc. so that the government could continue to function almost normally in the event of a building shutdown or emergency. There is also a federal law in place allowing federal workers to work from home. Why is the government shut down due to a snow storm? Is there no electricity anywhere in any of those cities experiencing the snow storm? Are federal employees going to be paid without having to use leave for these "snow days" when they are capable of working from home?

    Also, when the President says "freeze discretionary spending for three years", does that include freezing raises, step increases and promotions for federal employees? Everyone is sacrificing except the people that everybody else is paying!

    February 11, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  9. Gil Oberdas

    How can anyone be satisfied withe the running of government, when all the republicans can do is vote "NO" to everyting. Some co-sponsered Bills have been withdrawn as soon as Obama comes out in favor of the same Bill. The Party of "NO" has got to go!

    February 11, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
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