Poll: Govt. dysfunction country's top problem
October 9th, 2013
09:03 AM ET
5 years ago

Poll: Govt. dysfunction country's top problem

Washington (CNN) - More Americans name government dysfunction rather than anything else as the top problem facing the country right now, according to a new national poll.

One-third of those questioned in a Gallup survey released Wednesday say that dissatisfaction with government and elected representatives is the top issue ailing the nation. That's the highest percentage for government dysfunction in the nearly 75 years Gallup has been asking the question.

The poll, conducted Thursday through Sunday, comes with the parts of the federal government shut down due to an impasse between congressional Republicans and the White House and Democrats over the budget and the new health care law. It also comes as the country faces a deadline next week to extend the debt ceiling and prevent a government default.

The 33% who cite government dysfunction as the nation's top problem is double the 16% who said the same thing in Gallup polling last month.

"This almost certainly reflects the current upheaval in Washington and party leaders' inability to agree on a way to fund the government or avoid a possible government default," says a release by Gallup.

Nineteen percent of those questioned say the economy is the country's top problem, with 12% saying unemployment, another 12% listing the deficit, and an equal amount saying health care. This is the first time since 2008 that an economic issue was not at the top of Gallup's list.

The poll also points to a slight partisan divide.

"Democrats (36%) and independents (33%) are somewhat more likely than Republicans (23%) to mention dysfunctional government as the most important problem facing the country, perhaps reflecting partisans' differing views about the role and importance of government," says Gallup.

The Gallup poll was conducted October 3-6, with 1,028 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus four percentage points.

- CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this story.

Filed under: Government Shutdown • Polls
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. Data Driven

    Photo sums it up: crazed old person, all hyped up from too much cable news, spit-foam forming in the corner of her mouth ....

    Doubtless a "tea partier".

    October 9, 2013 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  2. kirk

    Congress is done putting effort into pretending they care, time yi crash the economy, and make billionaires even richer at our expense, there is only one way to stopit,work together, that's the last thing the gop wants,divided we fall.

    October 9, 2013 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  3. Kay

    Why can't the government be doing something constructive such as getting our jobs back from other countries so that more Americans can get health insurance from the workplace? All of this drama over health insurance when the average Joe is struggling just to put food on the table sickens me to the core. All of the politicians that are still receiving a paycheck should donate it to food banks to help feed hungry children or set up a charity to help the elderly pay for their medications. Oops, I forgot, donating that fat salary would mean that one has to have empathy for people that are truly in need. Most of us have already had a hike in our insurance at work and that is just the tip of the iceberg if this healthcare bill passes. The problem with it is nobody is putting a cap on what the companies can charge for their services. By the time the kinks are taken out of the bill, some Americans will have to use the health insurance for malnourishment for sure!! By the way, I am praying for my country and its leaders. Hopefully, some of them will seek His guidance on this issue.

    October 9, 2013 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  4. jpmichigan

    Blame and more blame, but no real solutions. The Federal government takes in enough money monthly to cover interest on our debit, so that we would not default. Raising the debit limit, means just that increasing the amount of borrowing so to spend. American people are not STUPID, as the President wish they were. I:ncrease the debit limit, increases the debit. When will leadership finally take hold of the situation , negotiations and compromise is needed, but not after the fact, before decisions on the budget and increase in debit ceiling. Why both after these things are cleared

    October 9, 2013 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  5. Hector Slagg

    With nobody driving the train what do you expect. A Train wreck.

    October 9, 2013 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  6. the hippies were right

    The intelligent portion of our country know the republican side of government is the problem PERIOD

    October 9, 2013 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  7. Prism

    We need a parliamentary system of government.In this case the prime minister would be the people elected person, whereas the president has only limited powers like dissolving a deadlocked parliament before it damages the country.

    October 9, 2013 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  8. Phyllis Gwendoline Williams

    Lack of LOVE "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His Righteousness; and ALL These Things shall be unto you"-
    (Matthew 6: 33)

    October 9, 2013 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  9. Kris

    Well, when we elect people that campaign under the slogan "I will not compromise!!!" we really can't be surprised when they don't... o.O

    October 9, 2013 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  10. Name

    If your hate the president so much and want him to fail ,what's about the people the that elected your, he is not running for president any more, your plans fail since 2009 when he was elected, how can some body not tied of negotiating, look at it since 2009 he is tied of all this now

    October 9, 2013 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  11. Larry in Houston

    LOL – even Charles Krauthammer is saying that he thinks the republicans are going to take "the hit" come mid-terms. I thought that was sort of funny, because he's got some type of gut instinct, and is afraid of what's to come, in 2014.
    The dysfunction is just the beginning, I honestly don't think who is in office, there's going to be things that they do, or don't do, that will never please everybody.
    You know the old saying : You can please some of the people some of the time, but you can't please all the people all the time.

    October 9, 2013 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  12. Bessy

    Yes it is, and I can only hope that people remember how they feel about this every time they go into a voting booth. It is very important to vote, but remember today and then vote accordingly. Remember who constantly says " no " to everything. It is just as important this November as it will be next year.

    October 9, 2013 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  13. Jack

    And I predict the Republicans will pay. From the amount of moderate Republicans, just in the CNN forums abandoning the Republican Party, the will truly become a minority party.

    October 9, 2013 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  14. Mark L.

    Both the Democrats and Republicans need to STOP acting like rotten, spoiled children and DO THE JOB THEY WERE ELECTED TO DO !! Otherwise, maybe it's high-time we OUST members of both parties and vote in more INDEPENDENT candidates !!

    JESSE VENTURA – 2016 !!

    October 9, 2013 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  15. kay

    I truly do believe that this GOP made crisis goes back to wanting the POTUS to fail. The GOP are literally holding this country hostage over the Affordable Care Act, and it's the most childish, irrational behavior I've ever seen.

    October 9, 2013 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  16. JR

    The real season GOP folks don't consider Congress to be the problem is because they're too stupid. And of course getting their news from toilet networks like Fox brain washes what little brain mass they have.

    October 9, 2013 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  17. Amy Foster

    We need term limits for representatives in both the house and senate. This has become a life time career for these people.
    They are getting paid while many are not!! The disfunction is disgusting!! But the American people are too ignorant across both party lines to see these people none of them are working for us!!

    October 9, 2013 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  18. sonny chapman

    King George was right: Self Govt. is folly. When a small sliver of the American population (Tea Partiers or Anarchists) can shut down the Fed. Govt. of THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, something is structurally wrong.

    October 9, 2013 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  19. Sniffit

    Mission Accomplished, eh GOPers/Teatrolls? Breaking gov't to prove it's broken! Yay!

    October 9, 2013 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  20. terri dalton

    The whole entire government should be fired and forced to pay back all the money this shut down has costed the american people back for all its costed get new people in that will do our country some good YOUR FIRED!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 9, 2013 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  21. wendel

    sad when the congress can't function and acts like this is some big game. vote these goons out.

    October 9, 2013 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  22. Rick McDaniel

    That's what happens when you elect the most devisive President since Lincoln.

    October 9, 2013 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  23. Merl

    The big mistake is believing any politician. They are liars and thieves. We, the public,align ourselves with the politician(s) that tell the lies we want to hear. Each has their own agenda. Ted Cruz wants to be the Tea Party poster boy and on the presidential ticket for 2016. To accomplish that dubious honor he is holding John Boehner's feet to the fire. John doesn't want to lose his job as speaker (and we shouldn't want him to either because the devil you know is better than the devil you don't know). The Democrats are in a box and the Republicans are in a box and they are not going to get out until they pull there heads out of their posterior anatomy.

    October 9, 2013 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  24. Malory Archer


    Apparently when it comes to WW II Vets trying to visit their memorial the President sends goons with barricades, but when it comes to a concert and protest for illegal immigrants the President gives his blessing. Pathetic!!!


    Yeah, except nobody was arrested at the WWII event, but many were arrested at the immigration event. False equivalence much?

    October 9, 2013 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  25. kirk

    Obama said he won't negotiate with our debt, good for him just remember john boner said we will not default on our debt, sounds a lot like the we won't shut down government promise he made, we will default they have nothing to lose in their minds, they will get their superpacs money, thats all they are concerned with, not how this will kill the economy, history tells them no matter why, a recession will lead to a party change at the white house .any group this desperate for power is dangerous, and it shows

    October 9, 2013 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
1 2