Poll: 80% of Americans unhappy with Washington

Poll analysis by Sarah Dutton, Jennifer De Pinto, Anthony Salvanto and Fred Backus

Amid the debate over the federal budget and the failure to come to an agreement to avoid the sequester, eight in 10 Americans are unhappy with how things are going in Washington, including 30 percent who are angry, up nine points since December and the highest level of anger recorded since the question was first asked in 2010.

Dissatisfaction with Washington cuts across party lines, but Republicans and independents are more likely than Democrats to say they are angry.



In addition, the percentage of Americans who say the country is headed in the right direction (32 percent) is down eight points since early February. That number had been inching up recently but is now back to where it was last summer. Nearly nine in 10 Republicans think the country is on the wrong track; among Democrats, 60 percent say it is headed in the right direction.

The President and Congress

As anger toward Washington has risen, President Barack Obama's overall approval rating has taken a bit of a hit. Forty-five percent of Americans now approve of the job Mr. Obama is doing as president, down from 52 percent last month. His approval rating is similar to what it was last summer.

While the president's approval rating has been above 50 percent since his reelection, throughout much of 2012 it hovered just below the 50 percent mark.

As has been the case, most Democrats approve of job the president is doing, while most Republicans disapprove. But Mr. Obama's overall rating among independents is more negative (50 percent) now compared to last month (37 percent).

While the president's approval rating may have dropped some, Congress' approval remains near an historic low -- only 11 percent approve. Negative ratings of Congress are found among Democrats, Republicans and independents.



The president's approval ratings on some key issues have slipped since last month as well. Just 39 percent of Americans now approve of the way Mr. Obama is handling the economy -- the public's top concern - down from 45 percent.