Thursday, August 25, 2011

Consistently Unhappy Across Party Lines

As we've sometimes suggested, data is generally more important than unsupported opinions.  Therefore, some recent polling data show that it's not just the President that has low approval ratings, but also that there's a general sense of dissatisfaction on behalf of most Americans.

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

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 
strong leader.

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?

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