As the government continues to come back from the 16 days it was shut down, people are still taking stock of the damage that was done and who may have ‘won’ and who lost during those two plus weeks. Unfortunately it looks like the country as a whole seems to have lost the most. Currently, just one in five Americans (20%) say the country is going in the right direction while 80% say it’s going off on the wrong track. This is a large drop from last month when three in ten U.S. adults (29%) said the country was going in the right direction and 71% believed it was going off on the wrong track.
These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,368 adults surveyed online between October 16 and 21, 2013 by Harris Interactive. Please note that most of the data was collected after the government re-opened after the shutdown. (Full findings, including data tables, can be found here)
Looking at President Obama, his ratings are mostly unchanged in the past month. In September 34% of Americans gave him positive ratings for the overall job he was doing, while 66% gave the President negative ratings. This month, almost the same number (35%) give the President positive marks for the overall job he is doing, while two-thirds (65%) give him negative ratings.
Looking back at the previous government shutdown, when Bill Clinton was President, he also didn’t see much of a difference in his job ratings from before to after the shutdown. In early December of 1995, after the 5 day shutdown, just under half of Americans (49%) gave the President positive marks, while 50% gave him negative ratings. In January, right after the government opened up again and right before he delivered his State of the Union address, 48% gave him positive ratings while 51% of U.S. adults gave him negative ratings.
It’s much worse for Congress
Congress, however, seems yet to find their bottom. In September 7% of Americans gave them a positive rating for their job performance while 93% gave them a negative rating. This month they hit the lowest mark since The Harris Poll began measuring Congressional job approval in 2006 as just 4% of Americans give them positive ratings on the overall job they are doing while 96% give them negative ratings. In fact almost three-quarters of U.S. adults (72%) give Congress a rating of poor, the lowest on our scale.
A pox on all your houses
Looking at the recent partisan bickering in Washington, one-third of Americans (34%) say Republicans deserve the most blame while 17% say Democrats deserve the most blame. But more than two in five U.S. adults (42%) say both parties equally deserve the blame. When it comes to which chamber of Congress or which end of Pennsylvania Avenue deserves the most blame, almost half of Americans (46%) say all three equally deserve the blame. Just over one in five (22%) believe the U.S. House of Representatives deserves the most blame while 15% say The While House does and 9% believe the U.S. Senate deserves the most blame.