Published October 27, 2011
Three-quarters of American voters -- 76 percent -- are dissatisfied with how things are going in the country, according to a Fox News poll released Thursday.
That’s up from 69 percent who felt that way in April, and 61 percent at the beginning of the year.
At the Obama administration’s 100-day mark in April 2009, just over half of voters -- 53 percent -- were dissatisfied with the direction of the country. That number has steadily increased since. The current level of displeasure is almost back to where it was immediately before Barack Obama took office -- 79 percent dissatisfied (January 2009).
The poll shows 43 percent of voters approve and 50 percent disapprove of the job Obama is doing as president. Last month 43 percent approved and 51 percent disapproved. In the period between those two ratings the president took a three-day bus tour to promote his $450 billion dollar jobs plan, Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi was killed, and the Republican presidential hopefuls held three debates.
The president’s job rating breaks sharply along party lines: 80 percent of Democrats approve, while 89 percent of Republicans disapprove. For independents, 32 percent approve, while 51 percent disapprove. That’s up one percentage point from a record-low 31 percent approval among independents in both August and September.
Voters are displeased with Congress as well. By a 63-29 percent margin, more voters disapprove than approve of the job Congressional Democrats are doing. Congressional Republicans fare even worse: by a 69-22 percent margin voters disapprove of their performance. That’s a record low approval and a record high disapproval rating -- on both sides.
Over half of Republicans (52 percent) disapprove of the job Congressional Republicans are doing, while a 57-percent majority of Democrats approve of their party’s lawmakers.
The poll asked voters why the economy is not doing better under President Obama’s leadership. Just over half (52 percent) think Obama has had good ideas, but too few of them have passed. Some 37 percent say it’s just the opposite -- his ideas on the economy have been bad and too many of them have been implemented.
Independents are more likely to think Obama’s ideas on the economy have been good by a 15 percentage-point margin.
Does Obama understand what people are going through? By 53-46 percent, voters say the president understands the economic pain of everyday Americans these days.
Views are mixed on the president’s $450 billion dollar jobs plan: 48 percent say if they were in Congress they would have voted for it and 44 percent against it.
By three-to-one voters think Vice President Joe Biden’s argument that rape and murder will increase if Congress fails to pass the bill is “over-the-top.” That includes over half of Democrats (53 percent), as well as most independents (75 percent) and almost all Republicans (90 percent).
Dissatisfaction with the direction of the country and unhappiness with the nation’s leaders has sparked organized responses -- such as the Tea Party and the newly formed Occupy Wall Street movements.
By a 7 percentage-point margin more voters think the Tea Party (45 percent) is good for the country than say the same of the Occupy Wall Street movement (38 percent).
Republicans are much more likely to say the Tea Party is good for the country (70 percent) than Democrats are to say the same about Occupy Wall Street (49 percent).
Forty-seven percent of voters are at least somewhat concerned Occupy Wall Street demonstrations will eventually turn into street riots. In fact, by Tuesday night that had already happened, as police in riot gear fired tear gas at protesters in Oakland, California.
And while 37 percent think the Occupy Wall Street movement is anti-capitalist, nearly half of voters disagree (46 percent).
Meanwhile, by 48-26 percent, more people would rather see their child grow up to be a Wall Street executive than an Occupy Wall Street protester. About one in five (18 percent) volunteer the response “neither.”
In general, most voters say increasing government regulations does more to hurt than help their family (61-28 percent).
Likewise, twice as many think big government is a greater potential threat to the country’s future than big business (60-29 percent). The number saying big government is the greater threat is up 14 percentage points from April 2009 (the 100 days point of Obama’s presidency).
Even with these anti-big government sentiments, when the poll asked voters what message they would send to the government right now, they are almost as likely to say “lend me a hand” (44 percent) as “leave me alone” (50 percent).
Recently President Obama’s teleprompter was stolen along with other equipment in Virginia. The poll asked voters what the president should do now. While 35 percent think he should simply replace the equipment, 27 percent suggest speaking off-the-cuff instead and 11 percent say he should use note cards. One in five think the answer is to stop giving speeches altogether (20 percent).
The Fox News poll is based on landline and cell phone interviews with 904 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from October 23 to October 25. For the total sample, it has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.