Summer Dystopia: 75% of Americans Unhappy with Nation’s Direction, But Don’t Trust Congress or Media Either

Alissa Tabirian | August 16, 2013 | 3:50pm EDT
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( – “Three-quarters of Americans are now dissatisfied with the nation’s course, up from 68 percent in July,” an August 12 Gallup poll found.

The Gallup results were echoed by a Rasmussen poll, which found that only 29 percent of likely voters believe “the country is heading in the right direction.”

And Americans don’t trust Congress or the news media to help turn things around.

“Confidence in the country’s direction” peaked the week just before Election Day and has been “gradually decreasing ever since,” Rasmussen reports. But public opinion on the performance of Congress is even more negative, according to the latest polling data.

Pollsters report growing disapproval of President Obama’s handling of economic and national security issues, with only 45 percent of Americans currently approving of his job performance and 47 percent expressing their disapproval.

Obama’s approval rating on economic issues slid seven points to 35 percent, and his ratings on “taxes and the federal budget deficit” have dipped to the “lowest issue approval ratings of the nine total issues measured this month [August],” Gallup’s pollsters found.

Consumers remain more negative than positive about the U.S. economy on an absolute basis, although their confidence has gradually improved since the recession in 2008-2009,” Gallup reports.

Gallup World Headquarters in Washington, D.C. (Gallup)

Meanwhile, the percentages of those who approve of “President Obama’s handling of national security are at their lowest level in over three years of weekly tracking,” with only 39 percent of likely voters willing to “rate the president’s handling of national security issues as good or excellent.”

Congress’ 14 percent approval ratings remain the lowest of all branches of government. Eighty-one percent of respondents expressed disapproval that is often attributed to the “divided party control of Congress.”

But voters are not very happy with their own party representatives. Just “38% of Republican voters think the average Republican in Congress shares their views, while 45% of Democrats believe the average congressional Democrat is about the same as they are,” Rasmussen reports.

In fact, 47 percent of likely voters believe that “a group of people randomly selected from a phone book could do a better job addressing the nation’s problems than the current Congress,” according to anoher Rasmussen poll.

Controversial rulings on Obamacare, gay marriage, and voting rights have taken their toll on the Supreme Court justices, who are not winning any popularity contests either.

Only “43 percent of Americans now approve of the Supreme Court” while 46 percent disapprove, according to Gallup, an approval rating that “stands nearly at an all-time low after some major decisions that included disappointments for both sides of the political aisle.”

The public also ranks the media’s performance as poor, with 67 percent believing that “news reports are often inaccurate” and three-quarters saying that news organizations are biased, according to the PEW Research Center.

However, in general the public supports the role of  “news organizations as a check on political leaders,” with nearly 70 percent of Republicans, Democrats, and independents polling in favor of the media’s “watchdog role.”

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