All of the data and charts below are from a Pew Research Center poll released today, August 25, 2011. The full report can be found at pewresearch.org/pubs/2091/barack-obama-job-approval-republican-congressional-leadership-democrats-tea-party-2012-presidential-race-mitt-romnet-rick-perry-herman-cain-ron-paul-michele-bachmann.
Approval Ratings for the President and Congress
Approval ratings for both Congress and the President continue on a downward trend. Perhaps not surprisingly, Democrat leaders retain a slightly less negative rating than Republican leaders.
Evaluation of the President
Consistent with low approval ratings, the President is increasingly seen as not able to get things done and not as a
Analysis by Party Affiliation
More significantly for the 2012 campaign, the President's approval rating among independents, a vital electoral segment, has reached a very low point.
Responsibility for Not Working Together
By a significant margin, independent voters place the blame for a dysfunctional national government on the GOP, rather than the President.
Frustration and Anger Toward the Federal Government Grows Significantly
Putting to one side issues of blame, the numbers of Americans who feel frustrated or angry with the Federal Government has reached a new high in the last 14 years.
Also, that anger at the Federal government has grown since September of 2010 among Democrats, as well as independents, perhaps due to disappointed expectations.
Trust in Government at Historic Lows
Finally, of the greatest personal concern to me, trust, defined as a belief that the Federal government will do what is right "just about always" or "most of the time" has reached historically low levels. In the Pew survey, only 19% say the government can be trusted just about always or most of the time.
For any candidate of either party to inspire the voters (particularly young ones who may have become disappointed by a lack of "change") and achieve high levels of support for the tough choices ahead, he or she will have to overcome this fundamental distrust.
I wonder what your views might be?