As the government shutdown drags on and the debt limit deadline approaches, 81% say they are dissatisfied with the way things are going in the United States, while just 14% are satisfied. The percentage saying they are satisfied with the state of the nation has fallen 13 points since July and is now at its lowest level since the financial crisis in late 2008.
The grim public mood is reflected in the record share of voters who want most members of Congress defeated in next year’s midterm elections. Nearly three-quarters (74%) of registered voters would like to see most members of Congress defeated; during the 2010 and 2006 election cycles, which both culminated in shifts in control of the House, no more than 57% in each of these two cycles wanted most members of Congress not to be reelected.
Moreover, the share saying they do not want their own representative reelected – 38% – is as high as it has been in two decades. At this stage in the 2010 and 2006 midterms, fewer wanted to see their own member of Congress defeated (29% in November 2009, 25% in September 2005).
An early read of voter preferences for the 2014 midterm shows that the Democrats have a six-point edge: 49% of registered voters say they would vote for or lean toward voting for the Democratic candidate in their district, while 43% support or lean toward the Republican candidate.
In November 2009, a year before the Republicans won a House majority, Democrats held a five-point edge (47% to 42%). In September 2005, 14 months before the Democrats won a House majority for the first time in more than a decade, Democrats held a 12- point lead (52% to 40%).
The Democratic Party continues to be viewed more favorably than the Republican Party: 47% of adults have a favorable opinion of the Democratic Party while 38% view the GOP favorably. As in the past, the public by wide margins views the GOP as more extreme in its positions than the Democratic Party (55% to 34%) and less willing to work with its political opponents (32% say the Republican Party, 50% the Democrats).
However, as many say the Republican Party (42%) as the Democratic Party (39%) can better manage the federal government. And by 44% to 37%, slightly more say the GOP is better able to handle the nation’s economy. [emphasis added]