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Fox News Poll: 46 percent say random people on street could do better than Congress

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The U.S. Capitol dome is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Reuters)

The recent government shutdown over the budget and Obamacare has voters feeling angry and frustrated with lawmakers in general -- and Republicans in particular, according to the latest Fox News poll.  President Obama has fared better, although he hasn’t escaped the ire of voters either. 

Disapproval of Obama’s job performance stands at 53 percent, near its record high, and the number of voters “extremely” frustrated with congressional Republicans (30 percent) is the same as the number that feels that way about Obama (30 percent). 

In short, the new poll finds voters think incumbents stink:  A record 85 percent disapprove of the job Congress is doing (and an all-time low nine percent approve), and half of voters are extremely or very “frustrated and upset” with office-holders in general. 

That’s created a “throw the bums out” attitude:  72 percent are ready to vote their own representative out to get a “fresh start” in Washington, and another 62 percent would fire all members of Congress and hold new elections immediately -- if the Constitution allowed it. 

Click here for the poll results.

Nearly half of voters (46 percent) think a random selection of everyday Americans could do a better job on the country’s problems than Congress.

While most voters favor term limits (77 percent) and would consider voting for a third party presidential candidate (64 percent), these sentiments are no higher now than in the past. 

Specifically on the recent standoff, 61 percent of voters think the government shutdown will hurt the economy, and while Obama (24 percent) and Republican leaders such as John Boehner (23 percent) are the top picks for blame, voters are more likely to point the finger collectively at Republicans and the tea party for causing the shutdown than at President Obama and Democrats.

As a result, ratings for Republicans have taken a hit, while Democrats are mostly holding steady. 

The Republican Party receives a 30-63 percent favorable rating, marking both a record-low favorable and record-high unfavorable in a Fox News poll.  The party’s favorability is down 13 percentage points from a year ago (43 percent in September 2012).

The Democratic Party’s favorability stands at 43 percent -- down seven points from last year. 

In addition, a new high of 75 percent of voters disapprove of the job Republicans in Congress are doing.  That’s up nine points since August.  Disapproval of Democrats went up just two points during the same time period. 

Thirty-three percent of voters approve of the job Democrats in Congress are doing, while 20 percent approve of Republicans. 

Meanwhile, more voters are extremely or very “frustrated and upset” with congressional Republicans, (55 percent) than with congressional Democrats (46 percent) or with members of the tea party in Congress (45 percent). 

This all leads to an eight-point Democratic advantage on what’s called the generic ballot.  The poll shows that when voters are asked how they would vote if the Congressional election were held today, 45 percent would vote for the Democratic candidate in their district and 37 percent the Republican candidate. 

The 2014 midterm elections are more than a year away -- a lifetime in politics.  Still, for reference, in the final Fox News poll before the 2010 midterm elections, the Republican edge on the generic ballot was seven points among registered voters (October 26-28, 2010).  Republicans ultimately gained 63 seats in the U.S. House that year. 

President Obama

Obama remains underwater on both his job rating and personal favorability.  A 53-percent majority disapproves of his job performance, just one point below his record high.  Approval stands at 41 percent, just one point above his record low. 

In addition, Obama receives a 45 percent favorable and 50 percent unfavorable.  A year ago it was the opposite: 53 favorable and 45 unfavorable.

Forty-five percent of voters are extremely or very “frustrated and upset” with Obama.

And while a 56-percent majority thinks Obama did the right thing by refusing to negotiate with Republicans while the government was shutdown, voters are almost twice as likely to say he is doing more to push the parties further apart (59 percent) than end the partisan divide in Washington (31 percent). 

Tea Party Movement

By a seven-point margin voters say the tea party movement is bad for the country.  That’s a reversal from 2011 when voters said it was good for the country by eight points.  The decrease in those saying the movement is a good thing is down across the board:  nine points among Democrats, eight points among independents and four points among Republicans.

Thirty-one percent of voters have a favorable opinion of the tea party movement, while 53 percent view it negatively.

Poll Pourri

By a 51-40 percent margin, voters approve of the agreement Democratic and Republican leaders in the U.S. Senate reached to end the government shutdown.  Sixty-seven percent of Democrats approve of the agreement, which is nearly twice the number of Republicans that approve (34 percent).  Most voters who disapprove say it’s because the agreement “just kicks the can down the road” (83 percent).

Who do voters think “won” the standoff?  A 63-percent majority says “no one,” while 27 percent say Obama and the Democrats, 3 percent say Republicans and 1 percent say the tea party. 

Voters are more inclined to think Obama wanted national memorials in Washington open (49 percent) than that he wanted them closed to make the shutdown as visible as possible to Americans (41 percent). 

Sixty-two percent think closing the war memorials was an insult to veterans, while 36 percent say it was unfortunate, but not an insult.  Among veterans, 71 percent feel it was an insult. 

The Fox News poll is based on landline and cell phone interviews with 1,020 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from October 20-22, 2013.  The full poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.