Poll after poll has found that Americans are extremely disillusioned with the federal government, regardless of their political affiliation, after the president signed an agreement over the federal debt ceiling and budget deficit.
According to a Washington Post poll released on Wednesday, just 21 percent of Americans are satisfied with the way the country’s political system is working, down 17 points from November 2009. Forty-five percent of Americans now consider themselves “very dissatisfied” and 33 percent consider themselves “mostly dissatisfied.”
Additionally, just 26 percent of Americans believe that the federal government can actually solve the country’s economic problems, down 21 points from October 2010 and down 37 points from February 2002.
President Barack Obama signed a debt ceiling deal into law in the beginning of August. The legislation raised the debt ceiling until 2013 and cut the federal deficit by about $2.1 trillion over a 10-year period. The two-stage agreement, which was criticized by both tea party lawmakers and progressive Democrats, passed by a vote of 269 to 161 in the House and a vote of 74 to 26 in the Senate.
A record breaking 82 percent of Americans now disapprove of the way Congress is doing its job, according to a CBS News/New York Times poll released just days after the president and lawmakers agreed on the deal.
The poll found 72 percent disapproved of how the Republicans in Congress handled the debate, and 66 percent of Americans disapproved of how the Democrats handled it. Forty-seven percent disapproved of Obama’s handling of the situation, while 46 percent approved.
Americans are not just upset how the issue was handled, a majority of Americans have a negative opinion of the debt ceiling deal itself.
Sixty-two percent of Americans think the debt ceiling deal benefits the rich at the expense of the poor and middle class, according to a CNN/ORC poll released on Monday.
After passing legislation that is so widely disliked, lawmakers in the House of Representatives left most of their constituents disgruntled. A majority of Americans don’t believe their own member of Congress deserves to be reelected.
A CNN/ORC poll released on Tuesday found only 41 percent said the lawmaker who represents their Congressional district deserved reelection. It was the first time in CNN polling history that the figure had dropped below 50 percent.
Robert Blendon, a public opinion and polling expert at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, told Raw Story that the debt ceiling deal could be “Katrina” for incumbents in 2012.