S&P described the political system as one that has become “less stable, less effective and less predictable.” Asked about the S&P assessment, 71 percent of Americans polled called it fair. On the blame front, 36 percent said the GOP is culpable for the downgrade, 31 percent blamed Obama and fellow Democrats and 22 percent blamed both sides equally.
The decline in confidence has potentially profound implications for coming elections, although the anger appears directed evenly between the two parties. Among those who said Washington is focused on the wrong issues, 30 percent blamed Obama and Democrats, 30 percent blamed Republicans and 32 percent blamed 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, at 35 percent in January, dropped to 18 percent.
More Americans polled said both Obama and Republicans have made things worse than said either side has made progress, although Republicans were judged more harshly on this question.
Just 10 percent of those surveyed said Republicans have made progress in solving major problems, compared with 19 percent who said as much of Obama. Thirty-five percent said Republicans have made things worse, and 28 percent said the same about the president.
Obama’s overall job ratings were 44 percent approval and 46 percent disapproval in the new poll, both down from three weeks ago, when he was at 47 and 48 percent, respectively. In this one-night poll, 10 percent expressed no opinion on this question, twice the mid-July level.
There was one bright spot in the poll: 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 was unmoved from October 2010.
Polling manager Peyton M. Craighill and analyst Scott Clement contributed to this report.