Brian Koenig – The New American September 26, 2011
A new Gallup poll found a record-breaking 81 percent of Americans dissatisfied with the U.S. government’s performance, as the economy remains stagnant and the country’s fiscal integrity wanes. The polling company noted:
Americans’ various ratings of political leadership in Washington add up to a profoundly negative review of government — something that would seem unhealthy for the country to endure for an extended period.
Nevertheless, with another budget showdown looking inevitable and a contentious presidential election year getting underway, it appears the ratings reviewed here could get worse before they improve.
A relatively new trend, American discontent with the way Congress and the White House govern, has significantly deepened. In 2003, 59 percent of Americans approved of the federal government’s overall performance, while only 39 percent disapproved. An analysis of the past few years presents an upward curve in dissatisfaction with the federal government, particularly as war in the Middle East endures and as the U.S. economy remains stale.
The Democrat-led Senate — and until 2010, the Democrat-led House — as well as the Obama administration’s government-intrusive economic policies, have left 92 percent of Republicans dissatisfied with the U.S. government’s performance, while an astounding 65 percent of Democrats are now reported dissatisfied. Gallup notes that a vital source for the American people’s governmental discontent stems from Congress, as 82 percent of those polled said they disapprove of the way Congress is dealing with today’s economic and international problems. Only 47 percent said they had confidence in the executive branch, while 69 percent of those surveyed said they had “little” or “no” confidence in the legislative branch.
Gallup’s findings reflected poorly for both elected officials and those planning to run for office, as only 45 percent expressed confidence in the “men and women in political life in this country who either hold or are running for public office.”
Another Gallup poll, released last week, reported that Americans believe the federal government wastes 51 cents of every dollar it spends, the highest number since the question was first posed in 1979. The poll revealed that Americans are overwhelmingly more suspect of the federal government than state and local governments, as the state estimate held at 42 cents on every dollar and the local estimate at 38 cents.
Gallup revealed another record-breaking number, finding that 49 percent of Americans “believe the federal government has become so large and powerful that it poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens.” Less than a decade ago, less than a third professed a similar notion.
President Obama’s approval rating has eroded over the past several months, reaching an all-time low of 39 percent in Gallup’s August poll. Indeed, the President’s summertime woes — Standard & Poor’s downgrade, relentless unemployment, unrest in the Middle East — along with unpopular new policies put forth by the administration, dipped Obama’s approval rating below 40 percent for the first time, as discussions about a double-dip recession stir and the country’s fiscal shape remains in turmoil. Other polls released this month show Obama’s approval rating hovering just above 40 percent.
Much of the President’s diminishing approval numbers are due to declining support from groups notorious for voting Democrat, and who overwhelmingly supported Obama in the 2008 election. One particular demographic is Jewish voters. An annual poll by the American Jewish Committee (AJC), released Monday, showed only 45 percent of Jews approving of Obama’s performance, a freefall from the 57 percent who approved of his performance in the 2010 AJC poll and a sharp drop from the percentage of Jews who voted for Obama in 2008. According to AJC’s poll, much of the dissatisfaction stems from Obama’s economic performance, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and his poor handling of the unending Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Although a plurality of blacks remain loyal to Obama — with the President’s “somewhat favorable” approval rating remaining high — a startling number have lost their enthusiasm for the President’s performance and have become skeptical of his ability to revive the comatose U.S. economy. Only five months ago, 83 percent of blacks held a “strongly favorable” view of Obama’s performance, but a new Washington Post-ABC news poll, released last week, found that number falling to 58 percent. Much of this could be attributed to the distress and financial hardship that the economy has inflicted on the black community, as the unemployment rate for blacks reached 16 percent this summer, the highest since 1984.
Obama’s plummeting approval rating coupled with Gallup’s survey on the inefficiency of government spending present a meaningful analysis to Congress and the executive, as the findings reveal that the majority of Americans mistrust the federal government’s legislative ventures and overall handling of the economy. And unless the economy takes a sharp turn and unemployment takes a sharp drop, America’s elected officials ought to brace themselves for a rocky 2012 election.