February 21st, 2010
08:45 AM ET
13 years ago

CNN Poll: Majority think government is broken


Eighty-six percent of people questioned in a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll say that our system of government is broken. (Photo Credit: Getty Images/File)

Washington (CNN) - Americans overwhelmingly think that the government in this country is broken, according to a new national poll. But the CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey, released Sunday morning, also indicates that the public overwhelmingly holds out hope that what's broken can be fixed.

Eighty-six percent of people questioned in the poll say that our system of government is broken, with 14 percent saying no. Of that 86 percent, 81 percent say that the government can be fixed, with 5 percent saying it's beyond repair.

Full results (pdf)

The number of Americans who think the government is broken has grown eight points since 2006. "That increase is highest among higher-income Americans and people who live in rural areas," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Maybe it's just a coincidence, but those are the groups that make up the bulk of the Tea Party activists today."

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.

–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

Filed under: CNN poll • Popular Posts
soundoff (91 Responses)
  1. Mickey

    Yes, government is broken because of the obstructionist/terrorist organization called the Republican party.

    February 21, 2010 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  2. bmw

    Government can only be repaired if the media step up to the plate – reporting the facts rather than encouraging these "he said, she said" soap operas.

    February 21, 2010 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  3. Steve-Illinois

    Of course it's broken! A good example is Michigan's Dingell. This guy has been in Congress since 1955!!!! Now he has the audacity to campaign on the platform that the problems are so bad Michigan needs an experienced Congressman to represent them in these tough times! Are you kidding!!! Look at Michigan! Look at the gridlock in D.C.! It's guys like this that got us where we are today. It's guys like this that must be sent home. The people of this great country need to stop electing career politicians, whom, in most cases, represent their own self interests first, and start electing people who will represent those who elected them! We need to start electing people who will bring common sense to Washington. We need people to concentrate on fixing the problems, not more "career politicians" whose main concern is getting re-elected!
    55 years this guy has been in office, from the results, his "experience" is the last thing Michigan needs!!!
    Common Sense!!!!!

    February 21, 2010 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  4. Minnesotan

    It's always been broken. But the Republicans are the ones who turned it into their personal prostitute and then lied about it.

    February 21, 2010 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  5. sandy

    I don't think it's broken, but it's sure cracked. I am 66 years old and I cannot remember ever where one party is so hell bent on destroying the other party no matter what amount of harm it brings to our country. After thinking this thru, I can only come to one conclusion and I don't like the conclusion. I think this is being done because a black man is in the white house. I am white by the way. I even hate to think that the rational could be race, but it is, clear and simple. God help us all. It does not bother me that my President is a man of color. It makes me proud that our country rose above racism to elect him to office. Now, the Republican party is doing everything to bring him down. How sad.

    February 21, 2010 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  6. John in Tampa

    Nobody asked me, but add me to those who say broken but fixable. The essential action is for congress to forget party loyalties and think of the nation.

    February 21, 2010 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  7. Jerry

    Did the hope and change folks vote in this poll ? Obama seems on track to be the worst president eve at this point or is that Bush's fault also.

    February 21, 2010 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  8. Brian

    Support your country not a political party. Vote out all incumbents. We need term limits for Congress now!

    February 21, 2010 09:26 am at 9:26 am |

    Yes, the government is broken, at last we have a real poll. Both parties are at fault, and perhaps some blame should go to the 24-7 news stations, who fill the airwaves with talking heads and their propaganda driven opinions. Perhaps they contribute to making us so angry – and the lawmakers need to start serving the people, not their own limited interest in reelection. Term limits sound better and better.

    February 21, 2010 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  10. Total BS

    Most if not all the blame can be placed on the likes of Beck.Rush, and others...They do not seek the truth,only to stir up the hate in this country ! They hate black people,they hate the poor and they can not stand change.Hell,they want to live in the 1950's.We need to start a
    movement in this country to stop these clowns from further damage
    to our people !!

    February 21, 2010 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  11. Tim from Tampa

    When both parties are completely fractured and their only concern is defeat of the other party's programs, we lose. We act like a bunch of sheep being herded by nutjob talking heads... Limbaugh, Beck, Palin, Olberman, Cafferty... the list goes on and on. Even the Supreme Court has sold out. Time to vote out all incumbents. Strict term limits. Turn off talk radio and start reading.We are in danger of losing our country and all we can do is sit at our computers and call each other names. Wake up!

    February 21, 2010 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  12. Jesse Callahan

    In my opinion, based on eighty-seven years of residing in this country under various governments, the past two sessions of congress are the by far the worse that has ever befallen the American public in genral. True, the government is broken but it can be fixed by a total replacement of both the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. This will be a drastic solution, but there are times when it is necessary to use drastic methods. We can no longer exist as a free nation with the "Business as usual" routine currently being used by the congress.

    Jesse in Texas

    February 21, 2010 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  13. SCOTO

    Very revealing numbers. We need major surgery on our government if its to be fixed and its all about MONEY. Getting rid of the corrupting influence of lobbyists corporations and politicians who feather their own nest at the expense of the people.The answer is not going to be choosing between the Dems or the Republicans. One is as bad as the other. Its not going to be easy.

    February 21, 2010 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  14. The Lonely Libertarian of Liverpool NY

    Where are the choices? Where do the American voters look to for relief from the out of control Congress and the size of the government and the size of the debt? Who do we trust? The Democrats? The GOP? No both of these parties are no longer representing the people. Both of these parties are bought and paid for by the Special interest groups, PACs, Unions, Wall Street, banking, global Corporations are all contributing billions to re-election funds that undermine the people's representation.
    Some of us still have some fight left. We will restore this nation to the Republic it was founded as. "We the people" as hateful as we may be, as under educated as it may seem know that this Government since 1913 has lost it's values, NOW it is time for the voters to use the only power we have by voting those who work for the Global Corporations before the people out of office, finding those who remember that the people of the USA are what make this the best nation on earth. We demand to know who is funding the people's representation and if that campaign funding is coming from outside the voting district the candidate wishes to represent, we will not be fooled again.
    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 21, 2010 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  15. Nomo Politics

    Washington should have closed the borders back when too much immigration was occuring. That's when the slide to failure began. I saw it coming. It's time for all those in congress to leave and the American people to take back our country!

    February 21, 2010 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  16. jerseylou

    Put the blame on where it belongs, the repug mafia. And the people of this Country should never forget this.

    February 21, 2010 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  17. Marko,TX

    CORRUPT and broken. Two terms of the George W. Bush eras have taken toll on America. We will never be the same...we woke up way too late.

    February 21, 2010 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  18. Jeremy

    I dont understand y we are talking about it being brokin who care its all an excuse for the lack of achievements.... we need to work together! there shouldnt be different parts working aginst eachother there getting no where! i mean come on they spend to much time fighting then solving the real problems!

    February 21, 2010 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  19. If I was crazy, I'd be a conservative too

    How could anyone dispute government being broken? We no longer use the principles of majority rules, big corporations provide a half dozen lobbyists for every elected official, foreign corporations can now buy elected officials, and those who say the stimulus created no jobs, take credit for the jobs created in their districts. Facts no longer are important to those who listen to Fox, as truth has a definite liberal bias.

    February 21, 2010 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  20. Marcie

    Republicans have refused to work at anything that would benefit the American people let alone fix the corruptions they backed with George W. God bless President Obama, he tried.

    February 21, 2010 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  21. ib

    I think it is broken and the only way to fix it is to do as a bumper sticker I saw that said " go green recycle congress. We need to vote them out both demo's and republicans and replace them with people who will listen to what people want not what they and Obama want.

    February 21, 2010 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  22. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    Evan Bayh has it right and said it all.... Federal government no longer works thanks to Republicans who will NOT work for the common good.

    February 21, 2010 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  23. Marty, FL

    The corrective hope for government is clear. Reform the filibuster in the broken Senate.

    February 21, 2010 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  24. Papasan

    Please listen carefully, as a Nation we are on our own, the Government does not care about Main Street.

    Wars will go on, Wall Street is feasting on cash again, Capitol Hill will continue to be ineffectual, Political Pork subsidies will be allocated, Small Businesses will close, and Life as we \"KNEW IT\" is gone.

    If you need to believe in something, start believing in yourself, community, take pride in the sustainable items you can create with your own hands, be self reliant and learn to help your neighbors, act as if Government Help is a far off cruel fairy-tail.

    The Financial Depression and lose of jobs was manufactured by the very System that is now in control of fixing the mess. Now does that make sense to let them be in control? No it doesn't...

    It is completely possible to move forward with our lives and prosper once again, it was done before, and now regular folks spread out across the Nation have to do it again.

    Good luck, Good Bye, and don't forget to write!

    Papasan in AZ

    February 21, 2010 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  25. Elden

    Let's all light a candle and say a prayer.......Americas solution to everything.

    February 21, 2010 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
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