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Poll: Just 1 Percent Are "Enthusiastic" About Government

Poll: Just 1 Percent Are "Enthusiastic" About Government

By Adam O'Neal - September 9, 2014

Only 1 percent of Americans are "enthusiastic" about how the federal government works, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News survey. Seventy-four percent of voters indicated that they are either dissatisfied or angry, and 23 percent are "satisfied but not enthusiastic."

The discontent appears to stem from deep disillusionment with the president and Congress.

Forty-two percent of Americans approve of the way President Obama is handling his job, and he receives low marks on key issues. Clear majorities disapprove of his handling of the economy, international affairs, immigration, and implementation of the Affordable Care Act. 

About one out of three Americans think the country is “generally going in the right direction.” Two-thirds say it has “gotten pretty seriously off on the wrong track” -- an ominous sign for a president in power for nearly six years. 

The poll does offer some good news for Obama. Seventy-one percent of Americans support airstrikes against Sunni insurgents in Iraq -- a policy the Obama administration has carried out for several weeks now. A slightly lower number of respondents (65 percent) back similar strikes in Syria. 

Despite the president’s poor grades, he is still significantly more popular than other federal elected officials. 

Congress’ approval rating -- 15 percent -- remains dismal, and fewer than 50 percent of Americans approve of how their particular representative is handling the job. Two-thirds of voters said they would “look around” for someone else to support over their member of Congress. 

Congressional Democrats fare better than their Republican colleagues, with a 33 percent approval rating. Just over one-fifth of the public approves of Republicans in Congress. 

The poll did include some good short-term news for the GOP: Though Democrats had a two-point edge among registered voters in general House contests, Republicans have a three-point advantage among likely voters. 

The survey of 1,001 national adults was conducted Sept. 4-7 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

Adam O'Neal is a political reporter for RealClearPolitics. He can be reached at aoneal@realclearpolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter @RealClearAdam.

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