The U.S. government’s fan base is shrinking — and fast. Just 18 percent of Americans say they are satisfied with the way the country is being governed, down from last month’s 32 percent, recorded before the government shutdown, according to a new Gallup Poll.
The number is the lowest the polling agency has seen since it first started asking citizens whether they were satisfied with government in 1971. It edges out the previous low of 19 percent, recorded in September 2011, following a last-minute deal by lawmakers to raise the debt ceiling and save the nation from default. Before that, the lowest level of satisfaction with how the nation was governed clocked in at 26 percent, during the Watergate scandal in September 1973.
The new record reflects Americans’ thinning patience for the ongoing fiscal fights in Washington. This week, dysfunction on Capitol Hill surpassed the economy as what Americans viewed to be the country’s biggest problem. Public opinion of President Obama, as well as of Republican and Democratic congressional leaders, is worse this month than before the shutdown.
With one week left before the Treasury’s debt-ceiling deadline, these lawmakers have started to hustle. House Republicans are preparing a short-term plan to lift the debt ceiling for six weeks to protect the nation from default. Senate Democrats are voting this weekend on a bill to extend the limit until the end of the year. Both sides, however, will not meaningfully negotiate on a long-term deal until they open the government. There’s no light at the end of the tunnel: Even if the House’s six-week plan makes it through the Senate and to Obama’s desk, Washington will likely be embroiled in budget talks for weeks to come, testing its constituents’ patience even more.
The poll was conducted through telephone interviews between Oct. 3 and Oct. 6, with a random sample of 1,028, aged 18 and older, in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.
What We're Following See More »
The House on Tuesday voted 403-12 "to pass an overhaul to the nation’s chemical safety standards for the first time in four decades. The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act aims to answer years of complaints that the Environmental Protection Agency lacks the necessary authority to oversee and control the thousands of chemicals being produced and sold in the United States. It also significantly clamps down on states’ authorities, in an effort to stop a nationwide patchwork of chemical laws that industry says is difficult to deal with."
"Leaders of the Republican Party have begun internal deliberations over making fundamental changes to the way its presidential nominees are chosen, a recognition that the chaotic process that played out this year is seriously flawed and helped exacerbate tensions within the party." Among the possible changes: forbidding independent voters to cast ballots in Republican primaries, and "doubling the number of early states to eight."
Citing the unpredictable nature of this primary season and the possible leverage they could bring at the convention, John Kasich is hanging onto his 161 delegates. "Kasich sent personal letters Monday to Republican officials in the 16 states and the District of Columbia where he won delegates, requesting that they stay bound to him in accordance with party rules."
"Speaker Paul Ryan is changing the rules of how the House will consider spending measures to try to prevent Democrats from offering surprise amendments that have recently put the GOP on defense. ... Ryan announced at a House GOP conference meeting Tuesday morning that members will now have to submit their amendments ahead of time so that they are pre-printed in the Congressional Record, according to leadership aides." The change will take effect after the Memorial Day recess.
Bernie Sanders "signed a letter Tuesday morning requesting a full and complete check and recanvass of the election results in Kentucky ... where he trails Hillary Clinton by less than one-half of 1 percent of the vote. The Sanders campaign said it has asked the Kentucky secretary of state to have election officials review electronic voting machines and absentee ballots from last week's primary in each of the state's 120 counties.