February 25th, 2010
05:30 AM ET
10 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. How To Tell A Dem Is Lying-Lips Are Moving

    Another day,another lie from NObama & the Dumocraps.The party of NO NO jobs NO accountability NO hope NO results NOTHING

    February 25, 2010 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  2. How To Bankrupt America-Put A Dem On It

    Easy put Dems in control.SPEND SPEND SPEND then SPIN SPIN SPIN WHERE ARE THE JOBS NObama promised Mr YES WE CAN.

    February 25, 2010 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  3. Katie in NC

    The party of nothing blames the GOP and had the votes.Kinda like a dairy farmer with hundreds of cows saying he does not have milk.The party of NO NO jobs NO hope NO accountability NO change Cows and NO milk

    February 25, 2010 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  4. jules sand-perkins

    The matrix for this poll was created by the handout group's ceaseless complaints in response to very appropriate opposition from both major political parties (therefore "bipartisan") to the President's typically Marxist-Utopian agenda and massively wasteful spending.
    Congress is doing its job perfectly by restraining the President to the greatest extent possible.
    Next, President Obama may want to provide mountain castles with mechanical swans and Wagnerian operas for the people's pleasure and votes.

    February 25, 2010 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  5. Rush is to far left

    Not all, just one group: marxist, socialist, racist, idealogs, i.e. Obama and the democrats. Face it, Obama is still so popular with most black people simply because he is black, they don't look at what he is doing, except for the jobless, babymoma, welfare people with their hands out. They like what he wants to do, tax the people that are not to lazy to work and give it to the people that are to lazy to work, his "redistribution of wealth" crap.

    February 25, 2010 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  6. An American

    They actually needed to conduct a poll to find this out??

    February 25, 2010 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  7. Gil Oberdas

    That feeling is not of resent issue! It has developed with the 8 past years when our bushwhacker president had an approval rating of less than 20%, when two wars were started at expensive cost, when de-regulation of everything led to our current recovering meltdown.

    February 25, 2010 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  8. John

    ENTITLEMENT! A vast number of American's, led by our lawmakers, have turned the US from a country of service, discipline, and caring for others to a country of selfishness, greed, and "screw you" thinking.

    We used to always do the best we could, letting hope and optimism drive our thoughts and actions. Now Americans look for and complain about every blemish in every aspect of life, yet they behave as though they are entitled to the same quality of living as previous generations who actually cared about the common good.

    Yes, government is broken, but so is our society.

    February 25, 2010 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  9. Allen Hill

    What good is an elected government when lobbyists hold such tight reign over Congress? The most blatant example of this is the NRA. The number of guns floating around our country and the people getting killed by guns each year is a shameful, national disgrace. Who really needs all those guns? Tragicly, however, Congress is so tightly under the control of the NRA .that we all have come to accept that nothing will ever be done to change the situation.

    P.S. I commend Evan Bayh for what he did – it took a lot of courage. And he is right on target with what he said as to his reasons for resigning..

    February 25, 2010 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
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