A whopping 83 percent of Americans disapprove of the job Congress is doing, giving the nation's legislative body its worst grade ever in the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll.
According to the survey of 1,000 adults taken July 17 to July 21, voter frustration with partisan gridlock in Washington is driving the levels of dissatisfaction with Congress. Voters also blame President Barack Obama whose job-approval rating fell to 45 percent, its lowest level since late 2011 in the Journal/NBC poll.
Perhaps most worrying for the president was the slump in support among his strongest backers, including blacks and core Democrats, while independents dropped sharply too.
Pollster Bill McInturff, who helped conduct the survey, called the dip "a telling scratch" in the president's armor that could hurt the Democrats in the 2014 midterm elections if it gets worse.
"If ever there is an edge that falls off in the president's core support, that is always very meaningful in an off-year election," McInturff said.
The poll also found other disturbing news for the president. Just 29 percent of Americans now say the country is on the right track, a 19-month low and significantly below the 41 percent who felt that way at the end of last year.
The findings come as Congress and the White House prepare to debate federal spending and the debt limit, which will likely be contentious as the president looks to increase spending and borrowing and Republicans dig in to fight for even deeper spending cuts.
The poll also showed that Americans across the political spectrum are frustrated with the performance in office of their own congressional representatives. Only 32 percent of those surveyed said their lawmakers deserve re-election, the second lowest rating in 20 years, while 57 percent said they would replace every member of Congress, regardless of party, if they could.
But overall, survey respondents tended to blame Republicans more than the president or Democrats for putting partisanship above efforts to unify the country, with 67 percent saying Republicans take a partisan approach compared to 48 percent who point the finger at Obama.
Pollster Fred Yang, who also helped conduct the poll, said the survey responses make clear that there is a "strong, deep disconnect between the public and the government that purports to serve them."
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