News / USA

Polls Show Growing Frustration With Washington

FILE - U.S. Capitol
FILE - U.S. Capitol
Politicians in Washington are no strangers to negative public opinion polls.  But a recent spate of dismal surveys suggests the political polarization and dysfunction in Washington is reaching new depths.  

The numbers are mind-numbingly bad. In the latest Wall Street Journal-NBC News poll, Congress has a disapproval rate of 83 percent, an all-time high for that survey.

President Barack Obama’s approval rating is 45 percent, which matches that of George W. Bush at a similar point in his presidency.

Only 29 percent see the country on the right track at the moment, down from the 41 percent who held that view in the same poll at the end of last year.

Several other recent national surveys contain similar negative results, and experts say all of this has consequences for the president and members of Congress from both major political parties.

Charlie Cook, a political analyst with the National Journal, says the president’s weakening poll numbers could hurt Democrats in next year’s congressional mid-term elections.

“Obviously you watch the president’s approval rating because mid-term elections do typically become to a certain extent a referendum on the incumbent president and he has been dropping since mid-January about a point every three or four weeks," he said.

Despite signs the economy is growing, many Americans still have a negative overall view, especially when it comes to jobs and their future standard of living.

Obama has embarked on a speaking tour to refocus on economic issues and has not been shy about laying much of the blame for the political gridlock in Washington on Republicans.

“Wasting the country’s time by taking something like 40 meaningless votes to repeal Obamacare is not a jobs plan," the president said.

But Republicans, including House Speaker John Boehner, are doing plenty of finger-pointing of their own.

“We are not just over here making noise.  The House Republicans are continuing to take action," said Boehner.

Steve Bell of the Bipartisan Policy Center says the president has a tough job in trying to change public perceptions about where the country is headed.

“I think he realizes that the American people are getting a little bit frightened and a little bit, I think, dismayed," he said. "By about a two to one margin, Americans think the country is going in the wrong direction and has gotten off track."

Quinnipiac pollster Peter Brown says Obama has been losing steam in his recent polls as well.  But Brown says Obama has shown an ability to mount a political comeback.

“His numbers are not good but it is worth mentioning that he has been here before.  Much of 2009, 2010 and 2011 his job approval was in the mid 40s and he still wound up being re-elected fairly comfortably," he said. "Historically second term presidents generally have rough patches."

The president may be down in the polls but the Republican brand is even worse off at the moment, says analyst Charlie Cook.

“For Republicans to take advantage of Democratic problems they really need to get their numbers, their party favorable numbers up and the unfavorable numbers down, and that simply hasn’t happened," he said.

As bad as the public perception is at the moment, it might actually get worse when Congress returns to work in September.  Lawmakers are sharply divided on funding levels for the government, on immigration reform and on a move by some Republicans to defund the president’s health care law.

You May Like

Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Accuses Russia of Territorial Incursionsi
X
Zlatica Hoke
August 28, 2014 4:07 AM
Ukraine says a key border town (Novoazovsk) and surrounding areas of in southeastern Ukraine have fallen under the control of Russia's military. President Poroshenko says "Russian troops have actually been brought into Ukraine." Despite repeated denials from Moscow, Ukraine accuses the Kremlin of providing weapons and fighters to separatists in eastern Ukraine, toward the Russian leadership's alleged goal of annexing that strategic territory. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Accuses Russia of Territorial Incursions

Ukraine says a key border town (Novoazovsk) and surrounding areas of in southeastern Ukraine have fallen under the control of Russia's military. President Poroshenko says "Russian troops have actually been brought into Ukraine." Despite repeated denials from Moscow, Ukraine accuses the Kremlin of providing weapons and fighters to separatists in eastern Ukraine, toward the Russian leadership's alleged goal of annexing that strategic territory. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid