Americans Unhappy with Government

In a shocking new development, Americans are unhappy with the Federal government.

Two-thirds of Americans are “dissatisfied” or downright “angry” about the way the federal government is working, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. On average, the public estimates that 53 cents of every tax dollar they send to Washington is “wasted.”

Man, if only 47 cents of every dollar sent to Washington were going to good use, I’d be stoked!   But, as to the dissatisfaction . . . meh.  Take a look at the history of the polling on this question, available in the poll results themselves.


To be sure, “Public dissatisfaction with how Washington operates is at its highest level in Post-ABC polling in more than a decade — since the months after the Republican-led government shutdown in 1996 — and negative ratings of the two major parties hover near record highs.”  But that’s not terribly surprising given that the economy is in a mess and the political atmosphere is rancorous.   People are positively giddy compared to early 1992, which was a much better time.

Certainly, there have been periods when a majority were satisfied with government performance — even though the government’s performance probably had little to do with why they were satisfied.  But note that the “enthusiastic” set never makes it out of the single digits.

FILED UNDER: Public Opinion Polls, US Politics, , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Maybe the government should be like baseball umpires. They are there to establish and keep a level playing field, to make judgment calls according to the rules and to arbitrate disputes. And like baseball umpires, the less you notice them, the better job they are doing.