Poll: Americans find little to like in Washington

Citizens are fed up with President Obama and both political parties
Associated Press
Oct 11, 2013

Americans are fed up with Washington and spreading derision around to President Barack Obama and both political parties, according to a new poll that could sound a warning for incumbents of all political stripes going into next year's midterm election.

Negativity historically hurts the party in power — particularly when it occurs in the second term of a presidency — but this round seems to be hitting everyone, and Republicans even harder. The AP-GfK poll finds about 7 in 10 view the Republican Party and the tea party movement unfavorably, while about half have an unfavorable view of the president and his Democratic Party.

The numbers offer warning signs for every lawmaker running for re-election, and if these angry sentiments stretch into next year, the 2014 elections could feel much like the 2006 and 2010 midterms when being affiliated with Washington was considered toxic by many voters. In 2006, voters booted Republicans from power in the House and Senate, and in 2010, they fired Democrats who had been controlling the House.

"There needs to be a major change," said Pam Morrison, 56, of Lincoln, Neb., among those who were surveyed. "I'm anxious for the next election to see what kind of new blood we can get."

The poll taken Oct. 3-7 finds few people approve of the way Obama is handling most major issues, and most people say he's not decisive, strong, honest, reasonable or inspiring.

In the midst of the government shutdown and Washington gridlock, the president is faring much better than his party, with large majorities of those surveyed finding little positive to say about Democrats. The negatives are even higher for the Republicans across the board, with 4 out of 5 people describing the GOP as unlikeable and dishonest and not compassionate, refreshing, inspiring or innovative.

More people now say they see bigger differences between the two parties than before Obama was elected, yet few like what either side is offering. A big unknown: possible fallout from the unresolved budget battle in Washington.

Morrison describes herself as a conservative Republican and said she is very concerned about how her adult children are going to afford insurance under Obama's health care law. She places most of the blame for the shutdown on the president, but she also disapproves of the job Congress is doing. "I don't think they're working together," Morrison said.

"Congress needs to take a look at their salaries, they need to take a cut to their salaries and they need to feel some of the pain the American people are feeling," said Morrison, who is married to a government worker who, she said, has been deemed essential and is still on the job.

People across the political spectrum voiced disappointment.

Suzanne Orme, a 74-year-old retiree and self-described liberal who lives in California's Silicon Valley, says the shutdown is more the Republican Party's fault. "The Republicans seem to be a bunch of morons who aren't going to give in for anything. I just don't get it with them. They are just crazy," she said.

But she also said she strongly disapproves of the way Obama is handling his job and doesn't find him likable, decisive, strong, honest, compassionate, refreshing, ethical, inspiring or reasonable. The only positive attribute she gave him was innovative.

"It sounds like he's kind of weak. He says one thing and does another," Orme said after taking the survey. For example, she said Obama hasn't made good on his promise to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and changed his position on whether people should be penalized for failing to get health insurance.

"I voted for him, and he's turned out to be a big disappointment," she said. "I mean, what's the alternative?" Orme said it just seems to her that Washington is run by lobbyists and consumed by financial greed.

A bad sign for Democrats is that Obama has bled support among independents — 60 percent disapprove of the way Obama is handling his job, while only 16 percent approve. As he began his second term in January, independents tilted positive, 48 percent approved and 39 percent disapproved.

Obama has held onto support from Carol Cox, a 59-year-old independent from Hartville, Ohio, who says she feels the president helps people in need. She is happy to see his health care law that offers coverage to the uninsured and to people with pre-existing conditions, although she thinks the rollout could have been better. "I think he's doing an OK job," she said of the president.

But she is not happy with either party in Congress. She said the shutdown is affecting her family's investments, and she's concerned about the future of Social Security. "I'm really angry and frustrated. I can't believe how mad I am about this."

As for next year's congressional election, she said, "I would love to see just a total turnover."

The AP-GfK Poll was conducted Oct. 3-7, 2013, using KnowledgePanel, GfK's probability-based online panel. It involved online interviews with 1,227 adults and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points for all respondents.

The survey was designed to be representative of the U.S. population. Respondents to the survey were first selected randomly using phone or mail survey methods and later interviewed online. Those who didn't otherwise have access to the Internet were provided with the ability to get online at no cost.



The people are finally waking up and seeing the dumb and dumber parties for what they actually are, the same thing, with different names, that do no good for the people. The parties are broken. The politicians are beholden to the "party" instead of the people of their district or state.


There was a third choice.



If they had candidates for more offices it would be an option. They have one for President every year, few for US Senator or Representative for any State. I don't recall if there was any for a state office in Ohio or not, let alone for any local office.

fewdss's picture

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Yea right , Libertarian's suck too.

Little to no difference from the Republican Tea- thugs.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

I sincerely disagree and hope you actually read their platform instead of make comments like that off the cuff. Little to no difference? I would think that you support almost all of their social issue stances where Republicans would have qualms with several major ones. Additionally they back up their desires with realistic and manageable fiscal policies that empower the individual to do all the social things they want.

Which policy/-ies of theirs do you have such an offended state to that you would say they suck?


Try http://www.lp.org for what they really stand for.


Conspiracy theorists + Ayn Rand + Tea party + paranoids = Libertarian


"Little to no difference from the Republican Tea- thugs."

More like Democrats and Republicans, not much difference. Their political parties come first, no matter what the American citizen wants. Most American citizens want freedom and the pursuit of happiness. The Democrats and Republicans feel to hell with the American citizens. Allegiance to political party first, allegiance to the rich ruling class second and any hint of representing the American citizen is only for show, fodder for the corporate owned news media.

The Democrats and Republicans took an oath to defend the Constitution. They both lied.

Libertarian Party calls for restoring the Fourth Amendment

"Democratic and Republican Votes Abuse Your Fourth Amendment Rights"

"Thanks to the brave and patriotic actions of whistleblower Edward Snowden, Americans now know that their Fourth Amendment rights have been blown out of the water; that the government has been routinely spying on millions of Americans."

"Your telephone calls, emails, text messages, chat sessions, and Skype sessions are no longer private. The National Security Agency — the NSA — has put virtually every American under surveillance. You're being watched, listened to, and tracked just about everywhere."

"95 out of 100 Sitting Senators Have Supported Surveillance"

"421 out of 435 Sitting Congressmen
Have Supported Surveillance"

Democrat or Republican, different party names but both support the ruling class and not the American citizens. They are both the same, just different spelling of words.

Feces or Excrement, different spelling of words but both mean the same.
Flush them all down the toilet. Watch out for Pelosi, she might offer you a turd sandwich. If you ask what kind of sandwich, she will tell you that you have to take a bite so that you will know what's in it.


Conspiracy theorists + Ayn Rand + Tea party + paranoids = Libertarian

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Sell me on the Democratic Party then, please. Why should I join and vote for anyone with (D) after their name? Convince me this is the one, true party to rule them all. Apparently I am missing something.


We've played this game before.

Believe what you want.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

You well know I don't call people names and I actually try to post things that are exploratory, informative, or if I am venting I indicate it. So I am disappointed that I can't even get a response about why you support your favorite party. My offer isn't a "gotcha", I will be happy to see what makes you so passionate about the Democratic Party and leave your response alone without retort or reply.


Why should I have to "sell" you anything?
I don't care- believe what you want.

Sell me your Libertarian view -does it contradict the link I sent? -which you probably didn't look at.


Way to reference a couple of articles written in 2000...

Take an honest look at lp you will find everything written in those were inaccurate.

The Big Dog's back

Speak for your own party pooh. Bet you wish you were a Democrat.


And what party would that be piddle puppy? I haven't voted for a main party candidate for President for well over a decade. More dims than repubes for local elections and about even between repubes and dimocraps for most state offices. I don't like either major party, as I have stated before one wants to overspend on 1/2 of the crap and not pay for it and the other wants to overspend on the other half of the crap and not pay for it. I didn't like bush and I don't like obama. But YOU know what party I am for. You are just a whiney piddle puppy that likes the dumb and dumber party. and suck up whatever you can from their leavings.


Oh the rhetoric that flows from Big Dawg's simple mind across his flailing tongue that ends up as keyboard dribble that we intellectual Republicans have to virtually clean. Big Dawg (yes, I'll appease your ego with that title)is once again casting out the virtual fishing pole in hopes of getting a bite. I'm not sure why, but I feel the need to level him with full understanding that I will fulfill the void where his self-confidence would otherwise be. The truth being told is that BD will surf the pages of this website seeking anti-Obama posters like a heat seeking missile on a forest fire. BD is the metaphorical equivalent of the Captain of the Titanic and will never admit that the hull has struck an iceberg and Obamas ego is escaping him like an untied party balloon. In most instances, I would be upset with this behavior, but I have since come to reason that I have sympathy for people like big dawg. I have sympathy that Obama has built a career on marketing toward our society's least educated and uninformed simple minds our country has to offer. Simple minds that have simple not only by genetics, but because they have no desire to work and realize the results of their actions. In this case, clever campaign marketing to people who can barely write responses to these posts may have cost our country's future. The magnitude of these past two elections makes one ponder rather or not our forefathers kept women (then uneducated) and African-Americans (then uneducated) from voting more for education issues. Could our forefathers have had great foresight that we have not realized until this election that has put the future of our once great and sacred country at risk? Could the liberal re-writers of History that are presently busy writing our forefathers out of American History have possibly rewritten history to make our forefathers seem more racist and sexist than they really were? I digress, but the point remains that BD is a simple voter that lacks self confidence.


I used to think that, too, Grumpy. That is, until the TeaParty faction hijacked the Republican Party, and in turn, our entire legislative process. One small minority - who clearly doesn't understand that our entire Constitutional, legislative process is based on MAJORITY RULE - has taken a bad situation and made it far worse. Ted Cruz and his ilk are a pox upon America.

Darwin's choice

Time to flush the toilet in Washington, nothing but a bunch of turds there!


We need term limits and a balanced budget amendment.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone


You can tell it's a good idea when politicians in both parties grit their teeth, shy away, or suddenly unite to say "woah, we can get along let's not go there". Let's not forget restoring the Senate to the states' legislatures and not have it be a "house-lite" with popular elections.


"Let's not forget restoring the Senate to the states' legislatures and not have it be a "house-lite" with popular elections."

Do you know how few people know that was how our US Senate was set up to be formed that way? Probably less than 1% of our citizens, well if you take out those who came from other countries, and had to learn these types of things to pass the tests to become citizens of the US Power belongs back in the states and local government hands, and out of the federal gov't. The feds do such a pi$$ poor job with what they have. Get gov't closer to the people.

Uncommon Sense

Exactly right on what the Senate's purpose was, but no longer is - represent the states. We wouldn't be having the power grab by the federal government if senators would do their jobs to protect states' rights and keep the federal government in check.

When reading about presidential history, it is striking how presidents used to be worried about the federal government taking too much control away from the states and what was appropriate for the federal government to get involved in. For the past 100 years, presidents - especially this one - don't have a single thought about whether something is appropriate for the federal government. They simply want to take over control of everything. Amazing what they can accomplish without a real senate.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

As was pointed out to me in another thread by Contango, this year is the 100th anniversary of the senate and income tax amendments. I think we are around 100 years of the Federal Reserve, too? Hmm, interesting milestones to which we may compare our current progress and be left to wonder what we can do differently. That is if we actually have the gumption to learn from our mistakes and be willing to admit when a policy (past or present) is in need of some major overhauling or replacement.

Forget the ACA (I mean don't, but you get what I mean) I'm looking at Social Security primarily.


I don't know your age... but do you know anyone around 25 or so who actually believe they will receive a SS check after they retire at 70? IIRC with the SS retirement age going up most 25year olds will no be elligable till they are 70. Correct me if I am wrong.


25? How about 50? You need a job in order to retire!


50 year olds will probably see SS checks paid to them. 25 year olds, I doubt it. The Ponzi scheme will run out of money before then. Those last in the Ponzi scheme are the ones who end up paying in and get nothing in return.


The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

I am a little older than your age you threw out there but you are correct. Younger people tend to see SS retirement as a joke, which is why many are trying to get disability now for it through all manner of claims. That is why it should either be stripped from the general operating budget and put back in its lock box or we younger people should be allowed to invest it privately since we have more time for it to grow.