On the eve of the midterm elections, the public's optimism in U.S. governance has dropped to its lowest point in 36 years, according to the latest ABC News/Yahoo News poll.
Shortly after Richard Nixon resigned the presidency in 1974, 55 percent of Americans were optimistic about "our system of government and how well it works."
Today, that number has plummeted to a mere 33 percent.
The survey suggests that voters' angst transcends the poor economy, and includes "broader questions about the country's governance and American exceptionalism," according to ABC News.
Most Americans continue to feel pride in their country, and 75 percent say their country remains the greatest in the world. But even that is down from 88 percent in 1984. And 23 percent say that America used to be the world's greatest nation "but isn't anymore."
The poll results could be more bad news for Democrats, if voters conclude that the small-government nostrums prescribed by the tea party movement chart a better path to the future.
The ABC News/Yahoo News survey indicates 46 percent of Americans are "uncertain" how well the U.S. system of government is working – a new all-time high.
All told, about half of Americans are either pessimistic, or uncertain, about how well the American system is functioning.
About two-thirds of Democrats and independents, and about 90 percent of Republicans, say it is the people running the government who are to blame for the nation's difficulties.
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