Gallup: 65 Percent of Americans Dissatisfied With Government

Wednesday, 22 Jan 2014 09:50 PM

By Melanie Batley

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Nearly two-thirds of Americans are unhappy with the nation's system of government and the way it works, the highest level of dissatisfaction on record, a new poll has found.

According to a Gallup Poll conducted Jan. 5-8, 65 percent of Americans say they are dissatisfied with government, up 5 points since last year, and 1 point higher than the record set in 2012.

Dissatisfaction has doubled in the last decade, according to the poll, increasing steadily from a low of 23 percent in 2002.

"The trend line on this measure shows remarkable change over time, rising from fewer than one in four Americans expressing dissatisfaction in 2002, after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, to the current situation in which almost two-thirds are dissatisfied," the poll notes.

Sixty-six percent of the 1,018 adults surveyed also say they are unhappy with the size and power of the federal government, a percentage that has also increased in the last decade.

"These views potentially hamper President Barack Obama's ability to propose large-scale government solutions in his State of the Union speech next week," the poll says.

Republicans and independents have seen the biggest change in attitude toward government. More than 70 percent of Republicans were satisfied with government during the time George W. Bush was in office, though satisfaction began to wane during his final year. And 10 years ago, 63 percent of independents were satisfied. Today, just 28 percent of Republicans and independents are satisfied.

"This may have reflected mounting public dissatisfaction with the Iraq war, coupled with the Democratic takeover of Congress after the 2006 midterm elections. Both groups' satisfaction plummeted still more between 2008 and 2011, and has since dipped further," the poll says.

By contrast, Democrats have had broadly consistent levels of satisfaction over the last 10 years, remaining within a few points of 50 percent.

"Democrats' satisfaction might have been much higher today, with a Democrat in the White House, if not for the twin problems of the economy and partisan gridlock that have tarnished the government's image among both parties. Satisfaction among Republicans, which has directly correlated with the party of the president in office, continues at its depressed level, with this year's reading tying the record low from 2013," the poll concludes.

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