Shutdown Inspires Historic Pessimism

And discontent for Republicans, according to a new poll.

Protesters urge Congress to end the federal government shutdown on Oct. 9 on Capitol Hill.
National Journal
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Brian Resnick
Oct. 10, 2013, 3:17 p.m.

The Re­pub­lic­an Party is as un­pop­u­lar as it has ever been. Ap­prov­al of Con­gress is as low as it has ever been. Sev­enty eight per­cent of Amer­ic­ans think the coun­try has got­ten off track.

The latest polling from NBC and the Wall Street Journ­al un­der­scores a great dis­con­tent sweep­ing the na­tion as the res­ult of the gov­ern­ment shut­down and the sur­round­ing de­bate. Like oth­er polling out­lets, the NBC/WSJ poll finds the pub­lic puts most of the blame on the  Re­pub­lic­ans (53 per­cent of re­spon­ders in­dic­ated such). Just un­der a quarter of re­spond­ents, 24 per­cent, said they had a fa­vor­able opin­ion of the Re­pub­lic­ans. That ba­sic­ally matches polling Gal­lup re­leased the oth­er day find­ing 28 per­cent find­ing fa­vor in the GOP. The Tea Party, like­wise, is also viewed neg­at­ively, ac­cord­ing to NBC/WSJ—just 21 per­cent view them fa­vor­ably. 

But over­all, Amer­ic­ans are feel­ing pess­im­ist­ic. The 78 per­cent of Amer­ic­ans who think the coun­try is on the wrong track ties NBC/WSJ’s re­cord. That’s 16 points lower than last month, and about the same level as dur­ing the 2008 fin­an­cial crisis.

And here are some oth­er rev­el­a­tions from the poll that was con­duc­ted Oc­to­ber 7-9, in­clud­ing 800 adults, and with a mar­gin of er­ror of 3.5 per­cent.

  • The pres­id­ent’s ap­prov­al rat­ings have re­mained steady at 47 per­cent.
  • Just 14 per­cent view Ted Cruz fa­vor­ably.
  • 17 per­cent think the eco­nomy will pick up over the next year.
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