This year, no one in Washington is doing a good job.
That’s according to favorability polls, which in the last few months have steadily churned out record low after record low of the American public’s confidence in its leaders.
An ABC News/Washington Post survey released Tuesday found that 55 percent of Americans disapprove of the job President Obama is doing, a career high since 2009. In a Quinnipiac Unviersity poll last week, Obama’s approval rating sank to 39 percent, down from 45 percent at the beginning of October. That rating is the lowest in any national Quinnipiac poll for Obama since he entered the White House. And, for the first time in the group’s polling history, 52 percent of voters don’t think that the president is honest and trustworthy. The latest Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll put Obama’s approval rating even lower on Tuesday, at 38 percent.
Pew Research and NBC News/Wall Street Journal polls also recently registered record-low ratings for Obama. The former found that 65 percent of Americans disapprove of Obama’s handling of the economy, and 59 percent are dissatisfied with his work on health care policy, both all-time lows in his presidency. The latter attributed its record-low approval rating, at 42 percent, in its own history to “the accumulation of setbacks since the summer,” including far-reaching National Security Agency surveillance, debate over a U.S. military strike in Syria, the government shutdown, and most recently the botched implementation of the health care website.
Presidential ratings have been worse, however, and Obama’s record-low ratings are specific to his time in office. Harry Truman holds the title of lowest approval rating in American history, with 22 percent, registered in 1952. More recently, George W. Bush dipped to 25 percent in 2008.
Congress, on the other hand, is a different story. Americans’ approval of the way Congress is doing its job dropped to 9 percent last week, the lowest in Gallup’s 39-year history of asking the question. The general public’s dislike sees no party lines, with approval ratings dismal across the board: 10 percent for Democrats, 9 percent for Republicans, and 8 percent for independents.
An October Gallup Poll found the Republican Party in general is viewed favorably by 28 percent of Americans, the lowest measured for either party since the research company began asking the question in 1992. The Democratic Party fared better with 43 percent, but that number has been shrinking all year.
Another October poll from Gallup found that just 18 percent of Americans say they are satisfied with the way the country is being governed, down from September’s 32 percent, recorded before the government shutdown. The number is the lowest the polling agency has seen since it first started asking citizens the question in 1971.
Yet another poll last month found that 33 percent of Americans say the country’s biggest problem right now government dysfunction, the highest such percentage in Gallup’s history. “Americans simply feel the government’s not working well at all,” says Frank Newport, Gallup’s editor-in-chief.
If trends hold, Washington is set to close out the year with some of the lowest approval ratings in polling history. The driving force behind the dismal numbers of 2013, says Carroll Doherty, associate director at the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, is likely a political “perfect storm.”
“You have a dismal economy, you have partisan gridlock, and you have a president whose signature initiative is now getting a pretty problematic rollout,” Doherty says. People shouldn’t underestimate the effect of congressional gridlock on American perception of the government, he adds. “The public looks at this and just kind of collectively throws up their hands.”
It isn’t clear what this year’s negative numbers mean for congressional incumbents in 2014. But they suggest that the public wants its elected representatives to think hard about their New Year’s resolutions.
What We're Following See More »
Vice President Biden tonight called President Obama "one of the finest presidents we have ever had" before launching into a passionate defense of Hillary Clinton. "Everybody knows she's smart. Everybody knows she's tough. But I know what she's passionate about," he said. "There's only one person in this race who will help you. ... It's not just who she is; it's her life story." But he paused to train some fire on her opponent "That's not Donald Trump's story," he said. "His cynicism is unbounded. ... No major party nominee in the history of this country has ever known less."
According to the most recent Gallup poll, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are equally disliked. The poll, conducted between July 18 and July 25, shows both major party candidates for president are viewed favorably by 37 percent of respondents and unfavorably by 58 percent of respondents. This poll is bad news for Clinton, who has received better favorable and unfavorable ratings in nearly every poll over the last year.
The same day that Donald Trump encouraged Russia to hack the State Department and "find the 30,000 emails that are missing," the GOP nominee for vice president took a more serious approach. "If it is Russia and they are interfering in our elections, I can assure you both parties and the United States government will ensure there are serious consequences," Pence said in a statement. Trump's comments at a press conference this morning were rebuked by individuals across the political spectrum, while some on Trump's team, including prominent surrogate Newt Gingrich, have called his comments a "joke."
The Federal Open Market Committee today voted to leave interest rates alone, but "upgraded its assessment of the economy’s recent performance and said near-term risks to the outlook have diminished, effectively leaving the door open to raise rates later this year, possibly as early as September."
"Spurred by VP pick Mike Pence, a former congressman with close ties to many lawmakers, the Trump campaign in recent weeks has stepped up its courtship of wary Capitol Hill Republicans. And the efforts appear to be bearing fruit." Central to the charm offensive: invitations to more than a dozen "Senate and House members into his family’s private box for some power-schmoozing with him and his kids" during the Republican National Convention.