President Barack Obama's approval rating has plunged to an all-time low, as 79 percent of respondents to an Wall Street Journal/NBC News
poll said they were dissatisfied with him and the American political system.
"The American public is telling its elected representatives that the economic distress that a significant proportion of them are feeling is directly their fault," Democratic pollster Fred Yang of Hart Research told the Journal.
He conducted the poll with Republican Bill McInturff.
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"The public seems to have moved beyond the plaintive cry of 'feel our pain' to the more angry pronouncement of 'you are causing our pain,' " Yang added.
That pain has translated into strong feelings among the 1,000 adults polled that their children will not have a better life that they do, that the country is on the wrong track, that America is in a state of decline, that the country is still in recession — and that the nation's economy is not stronger because of unprecedented partisan gridlock in Washington.
"We’re in the summer of our discontent," Peter Hart, a Democratic pollster, told NBC News. "Americans are cranky, unhappy… It is with everything going on the world."
Only 40 percent of those polled between Wednesday and Sunday approve of Obama's performance in the White House — an all-time low, the survey reports. That is down from 41 percent in a June survey.
But President Obama's disapproval rating, 54 percent, matched a previous high — and he got his worst ratings on his handling of foreign policy, 60 percent disapproval to 36 percent approval.
The postings were just as bad for Congress, with only 14 percent supporting what legislators are doing on Capitol Hill. The rating marked the seventh-straight time it has been under 15 percent in an NBC-WSJ poll since 2011.
Republicans are viewed less favorably, 19-54 percent, than Democrats, 31-46 percent.
"I don't think they're working for the middle class," one respondent, Evan Coley, 22, of Albermarle, N.C., told the Journal. He works in an auto-repair shop. "They're trying to help themselves more than anyone else."
Al McCauley, 51, of Greenboro, N.C., who is unemployed, said: "Both sides need to get their act together. They're not working with each other."
Despite these frustrations, however, Americans may not be heading to the polls in record numbers for this fall's congressional elections, the pollsters said.
The dissatisfaction varies with political affiliations — Republicans, Democrats, independents — Hart told NBC.
"We’re unhappy, but we aren’t coalescing around an issue," he said.
Even 57 percent of the survey respondents said that they were so bothered by an issue that they'd easily carry a protest sign for at least one day.
Here are some of the signs:
- "Impeach Obama," a female Republican from Ohio said.
- "Republicans and Congress, do your job," said a male Democrat from Kentucky.
- "Close the borders," added a GOP-leaning female from Massachusetts.
- "Stop bombing people in Ukraine and Gaza and Israel," said a male Democrat from Texas.
- "Our government needs an overhaul," a female independent from Florida said.
Still, slightly more respondents said that they'd rather have Republicans controlling Congress than Democrats — adding to the general sense among pollsters that the GOP is expected to retain the House and could possibly re-take the Senate this fall.
Republicans need six seats to win back the upper chamber.
"What we're seeing is a good Republican cycle, but not yet like the wave elections we saw in 2006 and 2010," McInturff told the Journal.
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