February 25th, 2010
05:30 AM ET
8 years ago

CNN Poll: Americans have low opinion of public officials


Eight in ten Americans think that government officials are out of touch, influenced by special interests, and mainly concerned with getting re-elected, according to a new CNN poll out Thursday. (Photo Credit: Getty Images/File)

Washington (CNN) - Nearly 6 in 10 Americans say they are dissatisfied with the way democracy is working in the United States, according to a new national poll. And a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Thursday morning also suggests the public doesn't have a very high opinion of public officials once they get into office.

Forty percent of people questioned in the poll say they are satisfied with the way democracy is working in this country, with 59 percent saying they are dissatisfied.

"One reason that Americans think the government is broken is that they think the way we choose our elected officials is broken," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

The survey also indicates Americans don't think very highly of government officials. Eight in ten think that government officials are out of touch, influenced by special interests, and mainly concerned with getting re-elected. Despite that, according to the poll two-thirds of all Americans admit that they would not be able to do as good a job of running the country as government officials currently do.

"Men are almost twice as likely as women to say they could do a better job running the government," Holland notes. "More Republicans feel that way than Democrats, and Independents are even more likely than members of either party."

According to CNN poll numbers released Sunday, Americans overwhelmingly think that the government in this country is broken, but the public overwhelmingly holds out hope that what's broken can be fixed.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted February 12-15, with 1,023 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points for the overall survey.

Filed under: CNN poll
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. Duh

    You think? Why do a stupid poll like this?
    Washington is full of nothing but people who think they are big shots, al they simply worry about is where that next vote is coming from.

    You know the worst part,,, the dumb jerks in this country do indeed re-elect them.

    February 25, 2010 05:37 am at 5:37 am |
  2. GGG

    No kidding!!! OBAMA has NO clue what the American people need...It is all about him...He needs to stop his own spending and Nancy Pelosi and the reat of the croonies in WA. What a joke...This state was a die Hard Democratic state and now...well lets just say the OBAMA BIDEN bumper stickers are coming off as most are embarassed they voted for this Dummie!!!

    February 25, 2010 05:46 am at 5:46 am |
  3. No Surprises Here

    I once told my father that I wanted to be a politiician, he replied; "I would rather you be a bank robber". Bank Robbers steal your money honestly and take less and usually only once.

    February 25, 2010 05:50 am at 5:50 am |
  4. Rich

    Congress, as a whole, is the most corrupt entity on the planet. They are wholly owned and operated by corporate America. We, the People, don't mean anything to them after they get our vote.

    Does this count as a low opinion?

    February 25, 2010 05:57 am at 5:57 am |
  5. Marie MD

    My low opinion of eleted officials is that they are more worried about their future than why they were elected.
    They forget that they have no worries for the rest of the lives, moneywise anyway. Free parking, free health and life insurance, great pension plan . . . . . meanwhile the rest of us are struggling to keep our jobs, making sure we don't get sick, etc., etc., etc.

    February 25, 2010 06:17 am at 6:17 am |
  6. Jelly

    Democrats use this hill as a kabuki theater for America.

    February 25, 2010 06:25 am at 6:25 am |
  7. jules sand-perkins

    That's like asking if the public is "dissatisfied with Asians" or "dissatisfied with Native Americans."
    I have a high opinion of many "public officials" in office at this time, because Democrats who can still think rationally and Republicans have been able to save our nation–so far–from the ultimate ravages that might have been caused by our being conned into electing President Obama, which swept his Marxist cronies into power with him.
    Our government is functioning perfectly at this time, and it will survive even if reconcilliation is used to achieve some of the President's socialistic vision for the United States.
    After November, our government will function even more beautifully.

    February 25, 2010 06:27 am at 6:27 am |
  8. Scott, Tucson

    We really do have term limits over our politicians, it's called voting the bums out! So why are we always returning the likes of Boxer, Pelosi, Reid, Boehner, McCain, Frank etc..? STOP IT! Vote no to any and all Incumbents! Particularly that twit you libs put in the White House.

    February 25, 2010 07:05 am at 7:05 am |
  9. D.D.

    We think many are educated narcisstic jerks- they need to go on The View and late night to work on their stuck up images. Most of them are in outer space with no connection to earth let alone America.
    Maybe Jay can have a weekly segement on Jack Asses.Bohner and Cantor- the simese twins can be the first guests followed by Mitch and Saxby – then Von Johnson and Glen Beck in unison.

    February 25, 2010 07:12 am at 7:12 am |
  10. 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 25, 2010 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  11. Sadie

    It has always been and will alway be the same in Washington........as long as there are special groups and lobbists the people in DC will always listen to them over the American people......wherther is is Republicans or Democrats in the White House.......because they are the ones that hold the money in their pockets.......you can vote out the incumbunents you can vote in new people that will tell you they are going to listen to you but after they are elected they will do as everyone before them has done and that is listen to the groups that have money.......

    February 25, 2010 07:32 am at 7:32 am |
  12. Scott L

    Because they are jerking around with Health Care (read Democrat majority) and NOT creating any jobs.

    They should be debating jobs initiatives, NOT health care.

    Give me a break. You liberals are delusional to think otherwise.

    This summit will further ensure more democrats lose their seats in November. In addition, should Democrats go nuclear and shove it through, they will wipe out 50%+ of the seats they now own.

    February 25, 2010 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  13. Phillip Bunn

    I believe that every American should go online (Amazon, for five dollars or less) and buy a copy of "The Constitution of the United States" and "The Bill of Rights"and take the time to read them. It will only take about an hour or so. Then you will realize how corrupt our politicians (Democrats and Republicians) really are. Until you do this all you will have is an opinion. Once you have accomplished this task you will have the facts, and their constant abuse, by nearly all the elected officials, thereof.

    February 25, 2010 07:39 am at 7:39 am |
  14. USA1

    This article is so out of touch with the readers as the government staff that tries to lead this country. I think if you made a law stating that 75% of all goods bought and sold within the U.S.A. must be made with in the U.S.A. Job's would return to America over night. And when you threaten to nationalize the gas and oil industry watch how fast the price of gas and diesel come down to a more managable price level for the consumer. This depression we are in is man made. Anytime the Feds want to end this it truley within there power to do so.

    Team USA1

    February 25, 2010 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  15. AJP

    Let's put it in simple words everyone can understand, "they suck"

    February 25, 2010 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  16. T'SAH from Virginia

    Come on CNN – how many times are YOU going to take the same POLL????? How many different ways can you poll a question to figure out that Americans are in a riff with the government???

    Every day you have the SAME POLL and all this does is show countries OUTSIDE OF AMERICA that we DO NOT believe in democracy!!! These polls prove we're no better than the people who rally in Iran against the government and other countries in the third world who form coups towards the government!!


    February 25, 2010 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
  17. silence dogoode

    If Obummer has his way..we will all be socialists soon...

    February 25, 2010 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  18. Andy

    Tell me 1 thing Obama has done that his "yes we can" and "change you can believe in" said he would.A complete disapointment.A true socialist cramming his agenda down our throat.He is a power hungry self centered imposter.Follow him over the cliff.

    February 25, 2010 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  19. Guest

    We "think" that because that is what we see on a daily basis.

    February 25, 2010 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  20. Candi

    Yes I have a low opinion-when will Obama & the Dems listen instead of rail roading.The GOP has good ideas,but the dems are too busy cramming their wants,WHEN THEY ARE NOT LYING,SPINNING.

    February 25, 2010 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  21. Janice

    Send NObama , DO NOTHING DEMS packing.Just a bunch of LYING,SPINNING wothless morons.

    February 25, 2010 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  22. NotALemming

    The problem lies with the fact of the sheer volume of idiots and morons in this country - majorities of idiots will almost always elect idiots as their elected officials....

    February 25, 2010 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  23. IS IT 2012 YET ??

    The problem is Obama – he doesn't know what he is doing.

    February 25, 2010 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  24. Reny

    Getting rid of the Republican party would be a start. They are worthless unless you are rich, then they will take care of you.

    February 25, 2010 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  25. Cayce

    Obama is a liar and his idiot party are socialist , neither of which listen to the people.They spend,spend.spend with no results and then try to blame their ignorance on Bush/The GOP. Hey dudes Bush is gone and you are the majority and NOTHING.

    February 25, 2010 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
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