October 3, 2014
10/3: Voters Remain Dissatisfied with Congress, Uneasy About Their Finances and the Country’s Direction
Candidates running for Congress this year do so amid Americans’ sustained dissatisfaction with elected officials in Washington, concern their financial picture is not improving, and pessimism about the course the country is taking.
Approval ratings for both the Republicans and Democrats in Congress remain low. The president’s overall job approval rating, although somewhat improved from August, remains upside down as does voters’ assessments of his handling of the economy. But, a majority of voters say their impression of President Obama will not be a factor in deciding their vote for Congress in November.
Americans, generally, expect their family’s finances to remain about the same in the coming year. However, there has been a decline in the proportion of those who think their financial picture will improve, and an increase in those who think it will get worse. About six in ten Americans still think the country is off course which has barely improved since August.
Registered voters divide over whether a Democrat or a Republican would better serve their district in Congress. Yet, a plurality of voters believes the Republicans would do a better job handling the threat of terrorism.
“The mid-term elections are occurring at a time when voters have few good words to say about political leadership in Washington,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “Americans are anxious about their own finances and lack confidence in the direction of the nation.”
- Only 24% of registered voters approve of how the Republicans in Congress are doing their job while 71% disapprove. These ratings are similar to those in August’s McClatchy-Marist Poll when 22% reported they approved of the congressional GOP’s performance, and 68% disapproved (Trend).
- With a 33% job approval rating, Democrats in Congress fare slightly better. 61% think they have fallen short on the job. In August, a comparable 32% of voters approved of how congressional Democrats were performing, and 59% disapproved (Trend).
- 46% of voters approve of the job President Obama is doing in office. Although this has increased from 40% in August, a majority of voters, 51%, disapprove of how he is handling his job (Trend).
- 41% of voters, little changed from 39% in August, approve of how the president is handling the economy. A majority, 57%, disapproves (Trend).
- Voters divide about their overall impressions of President Obama. 48% say they like the president while 49% have a negative opinion of him. More voters view the president positively than in August when 43% thought well of him, and a majority, 51%, had an unfavorable view of him (Trend).
- 52% of voters say their impression of President Obama will not be a factor in deciding their vote for Congress in November. 28% report it will be a major factor, and 19% think it will be a minor factor. These proportions are almost identical to those reported two months ago.
- When it comes to whether voters’ views of president Obama will make them more or less likely to support a particular party’s candidate, 41% say it makes them more likely to vote for a Republican. 38% report it makes them more inclined to back a Democrat, and 18% think it will not make any difference to their vote.
Looking to the Future
- While a majority of adults nationally, 54%, think their family’s finances in the coming year will stay about the same, 30% think their financial picture will improve, and 17% believe it will get worse. Americans are slightly more pessimistic about the future of their family’s finances. In February, 54% thought their money matters would be status quo. 35% said they would get better, and 11% reported they would decline (Trend).
- Overall, 61% of U.S. adults think the country is moving in the wrong direction, similar to the 64% reported two months ago. There has been a slight increase in the proportion of Americans who say the nation is moving in the right direction. 35% currently have this view compared with 28% in August (Trend).
- Registered voters divide about whether they believe a Democrat, 45%, or Republican, 44%, would better serve their district.
- On the issue of terrorism, a plurality of voters, 46%, thinks the Republicans would do a better job handling the threat of terrorism. 37% believe the Democrats would better deal with such a crisis, and 6% say neither party would deal with it well.