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Americans give thumbs down to Washington

Thursday August 11, 2011 01:05:12 PM, Arun Kumar, IANS

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Washington: Barely one in four Americans feels confident that the Obama government can fix America's economic problems with a large majority agreeing that the policymaking process in Washington is unstable and ineffective, according to a new poll.

As many as 46 percent of registered voters say they plan to vote against President Barack Obama next year, versus 21 percent who say they will definitely vote for the president and 33 percent who say they will consider giving him another term, a Washington Post poll released Wednesday said.

The poll underscores the damage caused to Obama and both Republicans and Democrats by the long standoff over the debt ceiling and the weakened economy, the influential US daily said.

The results could have significant implications for both parties, although the anger appears directed evenly between the two parties, as record numbers of Americans now say they are interested in new congressional representation when they vote in November 2012, it said.

Only 26 percent of respondents in the poll said they were confident that leaders in Washington could actually solve the economic problems facing the country.

Fifty-two percent of respondents to the Post poll said they believe Standard & Poor's decision to downgrade its rating on the US debt was a fair assessment, with 71 percent saying they thought S&P's assessment of the American political system as "less stable, less effective and less predictable" was fair.

Among those who believe that Washington is focused on the wrong issues, 30 percent blame Obama and Democrats, 30 percent blame Republicans and 32 percent blame both sides equally.

Confidence in Obama to make the right decisions for the country's economic future is down 10 points to 33 percent since January. Confidence in Congressional Republicans, which was at 35 percent in January, has dropped to 18 percent.

Obama's overall job ratings sit at 44 percent approval and 46 percent disapproval in the new poll, both numerically down from three weeks ago, when he was at 47 and 48 percent, respectively.

However, the poll found despite growing disillusionment with the political situation, 77 percent of Americans agree with this statement: "Whatever its faults, the United States still has the best system of government in the world." That number is unmoved from October 2010.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at




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