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Large Majority Of Americans Unhappy With U.S. Government

Jenny Chen |
September 26, 2011 | 3:18 p.m. PDT

Associate News Editor


Disapproval ratings of the U.S. government are at an all-time high.
Disapproval ratings of the U.S. government are at an all-time high.
The latest Gallup poll released on Monday says a record-high number of Americans are dissatisfied with the American government.

About 65 percent of Democrats are unhappy, along with 92 percent of Republicans, with how the nation is running.  

“Americans’ various ratings of political leadership in Washington add up to a profoundly negative review of government – something that would seem unhealthy for the country to endure for an extended period,” the Gallup website reads.

Much of Gallup’s results show criticism and disgruntled feelings toward all branches of the government are at all-time highs. The annual survey suggests record or near-record criticism of Congress, elected officials, the scope of government power, government waste of tax dollars and more.

In particularly, 82 percent of Americans disapprove of Congress and 65 percent of Americans have little or no confidence in the legislative branch of government, which may be attributed to lack of bipartisanship. 

There is an overall displeasure at the federal government’s growing power, with nearly half of all Americans fearing the government is too large, which could potentially risk the rights of ordinary citizens. Less than 30 percent believed this same statement in 2003.

Citizens are now far more critical of their elected leaders’ abilities to handle domestic problems. Fewer Americans now than in the past four decades now show a great deal or fair amount of trust in the federal government.

On the upside, faith in the nation’s leaders to handle international problems is now at 57 percent,up 6 percent from the nation's all-time low in 2007 during the Iraq war.

A majority of Americans now say that political leaders should compromise rather than sticking to their beliefs.

Gallup conducted telephone interviews with 1,017 adults from September 8-11.  The margin of error is plus or minus four percentage points.

The disgruntlement comes as the U.S. government faces a shutdown for the second time in three months unless a spending bill can be passed. The bill, which would cost about $4 billion, is problematic as leaders question whether to offset the cost of paying for disaster relief with spending cuts.  

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has about $114 million left in its disaster relief fund, which is enough to last until Thursday or Friday, according to a FEMA spokesperson.

The Obama administration asked Congress to approve funding to allow the agency to operate through September 30. the end to the fiscal year.

House Republicans agreed to provide $1 billion but wanted to cut spending elsewhere in the budget to prevent the deficit from rising. Senate Democrats opposed these cuts.

A Senate vote on a stopgap measure is scheduled for Monday. 

Contact reporter Jenny Chen here.

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