Home > Election Polls > Polling Shows That Americans Are Not Happy With Their Election Options

Polling Shows That Americans Are Not Happy With Their Election Options

December 20, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

Sorry about the brief hiatus and my failure to post anything at all yesterday.  I had a day off of work yesterday and decided to try to disconnect almost entirely and just take it easy for a change.  I was almost successful.  I stayed away from the laptop for the most part but instead got sucked into Teen Mom on MTV for some inexplicable reason.  I’m almost ashamed to even admit that to anyone reading this.

Anyway, on to more important business.

I came across a story in the news today that talked about how the majority of Americans are more dissatisfied with their political representation and the direction of their country than at almost any time in history.  It goes on to say that most believe the current election process isn’t working and that politicians are not coming up with any good ideas to solve the nation’s problems.

I think there’s a lot to digest here and a lot being said so let’s try to tackle these one by one.

Americans are dissatisfied with their political representation.

President Obama’s job approval rating notwithstanding, this statement speaks to the dissatisfaction at all levels of government – national to local.  Congressional job approval ratings are even lower than Obama’s.  We’re seeing governors like Wisconsin’s Scott Walker heading towards recall elections.  Plus, events like the state-waged battles over union rights and the federal budget squabbles are leading more and more people to wonder if Republicans and Democrats can truly agree on anything.

Americans are dissatisfied with the direction of the country.

You need to look no further than polling data to see that this one is true.  A recent CBS News poll says that just 21% of Americans feel the country is on the right track while 75% say it is not.  In just about any situation where there has been a war that’s dragged on for years couple with an economy that’s been in the pits for several years you’re bound to see poll numbers like this but we haven’t seen a spread like this regarding the general opinion of the direction of the country in quite some time.

Americans believe the current election process isn’t working.

I can understand someone not liking the fact that their personal choice of candidates didn’t get elected but I’m not sure what exactly they think is wrong with the election process.  Yes, there always scattered reports of balloting machines not working or hooligans popping the tires of vans that are picking people up to go vote.  Outside of that, the majority rules.  Maybe they’re talking about a lack of qualified candidates currently running for office?  I’m not sure.

Americans believe that politicians are not coming up with any good ideas to solve the nation’s problems.

I think they’re right on the money with this one.  Every candidate talks about change during election season only to fall back into the same patterns as before.  (Side note: I think a fun drinking game would be to take a shot every time a candidate says the word “change” during a debate.  Good luck to your liver!)  The failures of the supercommittee to come up with any kind of meaningful budget resolution along with continued debates over such things like the payroll tax and Medicare give the impression that politicians have trouble coming to a compromise or agreement on just about anything.  No wonder Americans are so discouraged with their political representation!

The polls provided some more interesting insight.

  • Fewer than half of those polled believe that there is a candidate from either party that would make a good President.
  • Two-thirds of Americans are “afraid of what will happen” should the candidate they support not win the election.
  • Two-thirds of voters who say they’ll vote for Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich will cast their vote to oppose Obama instead of backing Romney/Gingrich.
  • 8% give Obama an “excellent” job rating.  3% of congressional Democrats and 2% of congressional Republicans get a similar “excellent” rating.
  • 8 in 10 Republicans say Republican congresspeople did a fair or poor job.  6 in 10 Democrats say Democratic congresspeople did a fair or poor job.

It seems pretty clear that voter anger is not just limited to members of opposing parties.  Voters are pretty upset with members of their own party as well.  As you can probably surmise by the title of this blog, I’ll be casting my vote for Obama in November but I’m certainly in the same boat as a lot of voters out there – frustrated with politicians in general and wishing that they could set some ego aside to develop some meaningful solutions and alternatives to some of the nation’s outstanding problems.

What say you?  Are you frustrated with politicians (or politics in general)?  Do you think the country is on the right track?  Feel free to comment below.

  1. December 20, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    I can only speak for myself, but I don’t think it’s a very democratic voting process when a candidate’s ability to be heard depends upon money. So that’s my main problem with the system.

    • December 20, 2011 at 10:12 pm

      That is true I suppose. The richer candidates tend to control more of the airwaves and promotion. I hadn’t really consider it from that angle.

  2. December 20, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    Ha! In college – many moons ago – we played a drinking game to “The Grinch that Stole Christmas.” Every time they said “who”, we had to take a drink or shot. I don’t think I made it past the second set of commercials. If I were to play your drinking “change” game, I wouldn’t make it 5 minutes…. And I agree… this is the most pathetic system I have ever seen.

    • December 20, 2011 at 10:13 pm

      I think when it comes to politics, people want to drink whether they’re playing the game or not.

  3. December 21, 2011 at 5:20 am

    This feeling of apathy against politics is not just an American Problem. I am a Spaniard living in England and I can tell you, after having been through 2 general elections in the last 2 years (First GB and recently Spain), people are feeling very cynical about their leaders: nobody can find a solution to the mess that the bankers caused and this recession seems to go on forever with no light at the end of the tunnel. We are all sick of empty promises and politicians just looking after their own interests. It’s the banks that rule now, not politics.

    • December 21, 2011 at 9:36 pm

      The thing is that I think that the behavior of politicians hasn’t changed to any great degree recently. I think it’s just getting a lot more attention with the economy in bad shape and people struggling. Especially now, people want their politicians to help, not simply try to win an argument.

  4. December 22, 2011 at 3:04 am

    ok, only read a small portion on this blog… but really, is there any nation out there that is truly happy with their elected representatives..???

    • December 22, 2011 at 9:20 pm

      Good point. I don’t think so.

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