Poll: 85% of Americans Dissatisfied with Government’s Handling of Nation’s Finances

By Michael W. Chapman | July 12, 2013 | 1:02pm EDT

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

(CNSNews.com) – A new Gallup poll shows that a large majority of Americans are “dissatisfied” with the federal government’s handling of numerous economic-related issues, with 85% of people dissatisfied in particular with the government’s handling of the nation’s finances.

While the poll showed strong satisfaction for government’s management of natural disasters, national parks, and homeland security, for the 19 issues queried about by the poll,  Americans were dissatisfied with government’s handling of 13 of them in majorities that ranged from 56% to 85%.

Gallup asked, “Next, we are going to name some major areas the federal government handles. For each one, please say whether you are satisfied or dissatisfied with the work the government is doing.” The results showed the following:

.................................................................  Dissatisfied         Satisfied

The nation’s finances                                  85%                        14%

Poverty                                                        80%                        19%

Labor and unemployment issues                 72%                        26%

Immigration policy                                        72%                        26%

Job creation, economic growth                     71%                        27%

Healthcare                                                   70%                        29%

Education                                                     65%                        33%

Veterans’ issues                                           58%                        38%

Foreign affairs                                               58%                        39%

Energy policy                                                 57%                        40%

Public housing                                               52%                        42%

Criminal justice                                              55%                        42%

Environmental issues                                     56%                        42%

Agriculture, farming                                        43%                        49%

Military, national defense                                42%                        56%

Transportation                                                38%                        57%

Homeland security                                          41%                         57%

National parks, open space                            26%                        68%

Responding to natural disasters                     23%                        75%


Concerning the results of the poll, Gallup reported, “Americans are most dissatisfied with areas of government performance related to the economy and economic issues -- some of which affect the average American's household budget in the form of jobs, healthcare, and education. The still somewhat sluggish economy and ballooning federal debt are likely reasons Americans are mostly dissatisfied with the government's handling of the nation's finances and its efforts on job creation and economic growth, and labor and employment issues.”

“The public may be dissatisfied with efforts to deal with poverty, given that U.S. poverty rates have held steady or increased in recent decades, while median household incomes are declining,” said the poll analysts, who added, “Widespread dissatisfaction with the government's handling of healthcare may stem from the ongoing issues of increasing costs and relatively high numbers of uninsured, which the Obama administration and Congress sought to deal with in the 2010 Affordable Care Act now slowly being implemented.”

(AP Image)

The poll also showed that Americans’ dissatisfaction with the federal government’s handling of certain issues has increased since 2005.  For example, while 44% were satisfied with the government’s handling of “labor and employment issues” in 2005, only 26% were satisfied in 2013 – a drop in satisfaction of 18 points.

There were similar drops for “job creation and economic growth,” down 12 points from only 39% satisfied in 2005 to 27% satisfied now. Handling of nation’s finances? Down 9% in satisfaction; education, down 8%; agriculture and farming, down 7%.

“Americans may be negative toward the federal government in general, but they still see areas in which it is performing well,” said the poll. Nonetheless, “Americans' greatest dissatisfaction with the government largely centers on economic matters. … A more robust economic recovery thus could help Americans see the government overall in a better light, and bring greater tax revenue to help the nation's balance sheet.”

The poll was conducted by telephone interview, June 20-24, with a random sample of 1,009 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The margin of error was +/- 4 percentage points.

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