Public Souring on Washington

  • August 19, 2009

Americans are in an increasingly sour mood about Washington, according to the latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. Barack Obama's approval ratings continue to inch downward and a growing proportion of Americans (63%) think that the president and Republican leaders are not working together to deal with important issues facing the nation; in June, 50% said the two sides were not cooperating. While more people continue to blame Republican leaders than blame Obama, the percentage saying the president is at fault (17%) is higher now than in June (12%) and much higher than in February (7%)

In the same vein, the new poll finds favorable ratings of the Democratic Party have declined sharply since spring. Just 49% now say they have a favorable view of the Democratic Party. This compares with a 59% favorable rating for the party as recently as April and 62% shortly before Obama took office in January. Opinion of the Republican Party, which stands at 40%, has not changed all year.

Public opinion about the national economy also is stuck, and on balance remains negative. Fully 90% rate economic conditions negatively—52% say they are poor and 38% only fair. These evaluations are on par with views of the economy in June, which had shown some improvement from earlier in the year. Similarly, the proportion of Americans expecting the economy to improve over the next year, which increased from March to June, has now stabilized.

Read the full report Public Souring on Washington on the Pew Research Center's Web site.