Americans Really Don't Like Their Government Right Now

Orhan Cam/

2013 was the "year of polling terribly," in which many D.C. intuitions and the president sank to record low approval ratings in public opinion polling. 2014 looks to keep the trend going.

Gallup is out today with a poll that finds 65 percent of Americans are "very or somewhat dissatisfied" with their "system of government and its effectiveness."  This is the highest percentage recorded since 2001. Gallup notes, "The trend line on this measure shows remarkable change over time, rising from fewer than one in four Americans expressing dissatisfaction in 2002, after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, to the current situation in which almost two-thirds are dissatisfied."

Not surprising: Republicans and independents are the most dissatisfied—just 28 percent of each category report satisfaction. Democrats, after all, have their party's president in office. Forty seven percent of them are satisfied.

Take this poll and combine it with others that find that only one in four like the direction the country is going in, and that people find government to be the top problem confronting the country, and the picture that emerges is pretty grim. Americans don't think American government is working very well.

But remember: These questions are often vaguely worded. Satisfaction with something so enormous as "the U.S. system of government" is bound to mean different things across respondents. It might not mean, as Alex Seitz-Wald called for, a total reworking of the Constitution. It's just a general feeling of malaise. One, hopefully, that can be remedied.  

(Image via Orhan Cam/

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