The same poll asked whether President Obama is justified in taking executive actions to accomplish his agenda if Congress doesn't act. While 83 percent of Democrats said he has cause to do so, just 13 percent of Republicans agree.
The poll also asked whether Republicans are justified in passing legislation and filing lawsuits to block such actions. On that count, 82 percent of Republicans say that's fair game, but just 22 percent of Democrats agree.
Welcome to American politics these days. Anything done by the president or members of Congress from your party is fair, while anything done by the president or members of Congress from the other party is out of bounds.
Which isn't all that surprising. Polls have shown this kind of thing for a very long time. But at their hearts, these are not inherently political questions; they are philosophical and constitutional questions about how a president and a Congress are allowed to act -- questions that shouldn't really be about the resident of the White House or the majority party.
And yet they cannot be divorced from politics and partisanship. When Republicans see "executive action" next to "Obama," they assume that the executive action is overreaching and unwarranted (never mind that presidents of both parties have been using executive actions for a long time). And when Democrats see "lawsuit" next to "Republicans in Congress," they assume that lawsuit is an underhanded attempt to subvert the White House.
The substance of the executive action or lawsuit appears almost immaterial; Republicans don't think Obama should use executive actions, period, and Democrats don't think the GOP should sue or legislate to stop him from doing so, period.
Reasonable people, of course, can disagree about the appropriateness of either approach. But the fact that those opinions line up so neatly along partisan lines shows the polarization that exists in today's politics.
So, to sum up, 91 percent of all Americans consider government dysfunction a problem and 66 percent consider it a "major problem." From there, Democrats would overwhelmingly like Obama to go it alone and use his executive powers, while Republicans would overwhelmingly like the GOP-controlled Congress to do whatever it can to thwart him in that effort. The opposite parties, meanwhile, will dismiss these moves as out of hand as bad form.
Sounds like a recipe for less dysfunction, doesn't it?*
* Not really.