New Polls Show Just About Everyone Agrees That Everything In Washington Is Terrible


America as action figures.

The public mood is moody

[A] Reuters/Ipsos poll  — conducted from last Thursday to Monday — found 73 percent of Americans believe the United States is "off on the wrong track," and just one in five, 21 percent, think the country is headed in the right direction.

People are disenchanted, dissatisfied, displeased, and disillusioned with what they see as increasing government dysfunction. Nor is it just that they believe the government is failing. It's that there's a widespread agreement that the government should be doing something—something!—not specified but totally different:

One big issue is public concern that the government is failing to address major problems. More than seven in 10 Americans say the federal government is "mostly focused on the wrong things," a sentiment that is also sharply higher than it was last fall. 

…It all adds up to growing disillusionment with the system itself.

Fully 78 percent of those polled are unhappy with the country's political system, up significantly from two years ago. 

How deep does the disillusionment run? For the first time ever, a majority of the public now says that, given the chance, they'd vote to oust their own man or woman in Washington:

Only 41 percent of people questioned say the lawmaker in their district in the U.S. House of Representatives deserves to be re-elected—the first time ever in CNN polling that that figure has dropped below 50 percent. Forty-nine percent say their representative doesn't deserve to be re-elected in 2012. And with ten percent unsure, it's the first time that a majority has indicated that they would boot their representative out of office if they had the chance today.

NEXT: Interview in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. I’m betting Tony’s happy with our de facto unitary democracy and the unabridged flexibility and autonomy permitted to governmental entities.

    Yay for statism!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Don’t you know that it is Thursday??
      Why are you summoning The Trolls when you know we cannot respond? Are you trying to get us in trouble? Do you want SugarFree and Warty and their enforcer goons to get medieval on our buttocks?

      1. Who (or what) came up with this “The Collective” meme?

        1. It’s not a meme when only one idiot uses it. Don’t feed her.

          1. Aw, come on! It’s only a wafer-thin mint.

  2. i dont know
    who the hells to blame
    but sooner or later
    it will force me into politics
    if they dont watch out
    i got not platform
    but i have got a kind of feeling
    that everything is wrong
    and a fat lot of thanks
    i am getting from the people
    that are boosting up the prices
    no i cant live at all
    i aint a bolshevist
    i aint a socialist
    but i got a feeling
    everything is wrong

    1. D-

  3. Government Failure = Government Must Do Something Else

    Cognitive Dissonance…the trend that’s sweeping the nation!

    1. “Cognitive Dissonance” presumes the ability to think in the first place. It infers incorrect thinking as opposed to the inability or unwillingness to think which I think is more the problem.

    2. This.

      We won’t start to heal as a nation until people stop thinking that the government CAN do something about any and every little thing.

      Until we get there, no amount of hand wringing will do.

  4. For the first time ever, a majority of the public now says that, given the chance, they’d vote to oust their own man or woman in Washington:

    Get ready for another lesson in stated v. revealed preference, as 90%+ of Congress is re-elected next year.

    1. … and the freeman’s republic takes its last breath before succumbing to the torturous evisceration of its foundations.

    2. Eh. My congresscritter got thrown out in ’10. The new guy has been less worse. My politics are to vote against the incumbent unless the challenger is completely fucking nuts, but I don’t expect to be joined by the majority of my co-constituents.

      1. Bill ‘Space Cadet’ Nelson is up for re-election as Senator in FL in ’12. I think there’s a decent chance he could lose. George LeMeiux was not terrible while he was seat warming for Crist.

        Admittedly, one of these anecdotes detract from your point in any way.

      2. This is what I’m doing. Even if the challenger is nuts, it’s just the one.

        1. My choice is between this guy or a Maine RINO?.

          1. Remember, first termers get shitty committee appointments, so they can do less harm. This will be true so long as retention rates stay above 75%.

    3. I’d put it closer to 95%.

    4. Get ready for another lesson in stated v. revealed preference, as 90%+ of Congress is re-elected next year.

      This with bells on.

  5. I doesn’t matter who you vote for.
    They’re all the same.
    People seek power so they can wield it. It’s that simple.

    Seeking political office is the surest indicator that one should not have it.

  6. I don’t want to live in world where Bullit Trains and Diversity aren’t the Government’s first and second priority.

    1. ?????..?

      Stupid languageist filter did not like that first line on its own.

  7. How many of the other 72 people out of one hundred agree with me as to the “correct” direction of the country?

    These numbers are meanngless.

    1. My thoughts exactly.

    2. Not entirely. They mean that the public would probably support a term limits amendment.

  8. I’ll do these people one better. Given the chance, I would vote to oust my fellow voters.

  9. Once again, let’s seriously consider the idea of filling congress in the same way we select jurors.

    1. Jury duty is punishment for voting.

      1. Except in the places where it is punishment for owning property or having a driver’s license.

        1. I think we can all agree that it is punishment for something.

          Next time, lead off by telling them you’re a Libertarian. They won’t want to bother you again.

      2. But if you got a chance to be a Congressman instead of a juror, wouldn’t that be pretty awesome?

  10. Another idea, let’s get back to the old days, when the vice president was the person who came in second in the presidential vote.

  11. OK wow, that certainly makes a lot of sense when you think about it. WOw.


  12. For all the grumbling I hear from my lefty acquaintances about Max Baucus, I suspect they will all vote for him again*, especially if Denny Rehberg (currently U S Representative), more commonly referred to as the Devil Incarnate, is the one attempting to usurp him.

    * Same holds true, only more so, for the Super Genius currently infesting the Oval Office.

    1. The Republicans would be a lock for the Whitehouse if they could find someone halfway decent to run. That doesn’t mean someone that would be loved around here, of course, but that mythical “center right” pragmatist.

      1. Bobby Jindal or Chris Christie would be locks. Two bad they’re both actually committed to fixing the clusterfucks they were elected to fix.

        1. You underestimate the medias ability to destroy a republican candidate.

        2. The best thing I can say about Christie is that I don’t absolutely hate him like I did the last every Gov. we’ve had since I was born.

  13. This is all lovely, but I’ve a feeling the sheeple will return the majority of incumbants back to the Swamp after being promised more free stuff.

    1. How about a law that says if you don’t pay taxes, you don’t get to vote.

  14. Yet, mysteriously, most incumbents will be re-elected. Head-scratcher.

    1. It’s the other incumbents that suck, not the one from my state.
      –Average Voter

  15. Who (or what) came up with this “The Collective” meme?

    The International Brotherhood of Trolls, local 2.

  16. I heard RT and Al-Jazeera conducted a similar poll and found similar results. They conducted their surveys in Detroit, Wasilla, WA, and San Francisco. 🙂

  17. Speaking of explosions of distaste for politicians, linked below was my chart-ifying the congressional polling data referenced by Nick the other day..


    The interesting bit is the 20% swing between March 2011-Aug 20011 from 60% ‘Hate them all’, to 80% ‘Want them to be stuffed in a bag with starving rats’

    Its fun going backward in time and identifying the catalysts for the big swings in opinion. The two funniest (IMHO) were people changing their minds about congress when Obama got elected (? – makes no sense I know), and how the country suddenly decided they liked congress during MonicaGate in Oct 1998…

    But echoing some earlier comments… re: politicians, opinions are like ______ (insert appropriate bodily oriface here); the fact is, most will be re-elected because as much as people hate the (@#_*$’s, they fear the alternatives even worse….

    Devil you know, vs…. etc.

  18. Who the heck are the 21%? I mean, even if you’re totally locked to the government teat, shouldn’t you be concerned that the milk is drying up?

    Ten percent, I’d be okay with, because ten percent of the country are insane and believe anything. Or poll that way, anyhow.

    1. Ok, but which ten percent?

    2. If you made a poll that said:

      The Correct Answer is (a). Do you prefer (a) or (b)?

      I predict >20% would pick (b).

    3. They think that rich/corporations have oodles of money sitting totally idle and not invested in anything in their Scrooge McDuck moneybins just waiting to be redistributed to the proletariat, who will put it to use.

      I’m pretty disturbed at just how common the “McDuck moneybin” concept of wealth seems to be.

    4. Pro-L

      If you check the chart I linked above

      or here…

      …you can see that the 21% is comprised of 2 main groups = 1) those that think Government is awesome and doing great things, and 2) those that can’t read and don’t know what’s going on, and even if they did they wouldn’t care.

      Essentially = Idiots, and The Ignorant.

      Your ‘insane’ 10% has merged with the ‘apathetic’ to form a new bloc.

      The other 79% wants to have congress eaten by a pack of rabid wolves.

      It sort of reminds me of the classic “Fistful of Yen” scene…


      Loo: And who are they?
      Dr. Klahn: Refuse, found in waterfront bars.
      Loo: Shanghaied?
      Dr. Klahn: Just lost drunken men who don’t know where they are and no longer care.

      Prisoner #1: Where are we?
      Prisoner #2: I don’t care!

      Loo: And these?
      Dr. Klahn: These are lost drunken men who don’t know where they are, but do care!

      And these are men who know where they are and care, but don’t drink.

      Prisoner #3: Wait a minute. I don’t know where I am!
      Prisoner #4: Yeah. and I don’t drink.

      Dr. Klahn: Guards!
      [moves prisoners]
      Dr. Klahn: Do you care?
      Prisoner #5: No.
      Dr. Klahn: Put this man in cell #1, and give him a drink.

      Guard: What do you drink?
      Prisoner #5: I don’t care.

      I see many in our country falling into similar categories.

    5. Ten percent, I’d be okay with, because ten percent of the country are insane and believe anything. Or poll that way, anyhow.

      Where do you get 10%?

      I remember pointing out that every public vote where I live comes down to about 47%/53% no matter what the issue.

      I surmise that no matter what crazy shit someone raises up the pole, about 45%+ will vote yes. Put in some remotely rational basis to the crazy, and you get a landslide of 53%.

    6. One COULD argue that it’s the 21% thare sane in this debate.

      As a libertarian, there is nothing better than watching Washington flounder and turn everything they touch in to shit. Until the rats get replaced by politicians who care about liberty, I’d say that being complete fuck ups is just about right.

      It’s when people are happy with DC that shit goes all to hell, because at that point they’re actually doing things.

  19. I want “The Angry Mob” playset. Seriously, check out the Babushka with the rolling pin! Incredible double chin action!

    I’d put stocking cap pitch fork man on the far right flank. Backed up by fur trimmed overcoat torch woman. Far left would be teeny McGyver haircut guy backed up by Fisting Beard man.

    Frenchy would be on point wielding his wickedly pronged rake. Frumby derby hat lawyer with his dual weapons of fire and steel in support of Frenchy.

    Get off my lawn axe wielding gramps with Double chin Babushka would be reserves.

    Steve Austin’s mighty shotgun would provide mobile fire support as needed.


    1. and whenever there’s an angry mob, there’s always a guy holding a rake. I know when the shit hits the fan, I’m grabbing my rake.

    2. Looks like some of them could use an angry mob coach. For maximum effectiveness, a rake should be wielded with two hands.

    3. I did a quick search because I want the Angry Mob Play Set as well – it’s discontinued, but it looks like there is at least one available on ebay, for 70 dollars. The perfect stocking stuffer IMHO.

  20. Not to sound like a broken record, but the guy next to you bitching about government dysfunction may be bitching because the government isn’t doing enough…

    1. Ding! Ding! Ding!

      They’re unhappy because congress isn’t doing enough to assuage their fears.

  21. What if we think the country is located on one or more tectonic plates, and barely moving at all?



Please to post comments

Comments are closed.