In the aftermath of the tumultuous debate over raising the debt ceiling, Americans give Washington a strong vote of no confidence, with barely a quarter of those surveyed recently saying the federal government can fix the nation's economic problems and a large majority agreeing that the policymaking process is unstable and ineffective.
A new Washington Post poll underscores the damage done to President Obama and both political parties by the long standoff over the debt ceiling and the weakened economy. The results could have significant implications for both Republicans and Democrats, as record numbers of Americans now say they are interested in new congressional representation when they vote in November 2012.
With a double-dip recession now looming and the stock market buffeted by its steepest declines since the collapse in late 2008, the findings add another layer of pessimism to a gloomy summer. Just as the market has plunged in recent days, so, too, has public faith in the nation's leaders to deal with the problems.
Anger at Washington has been growing for some time, but the latest political battle has resulted in an intensification of the discontent.
A majority of Americans surveyed said they oppose the recent debt-ceiling compromise, which calls for slicing about $2 trillion from the deficit over the next decade. The highest and strongest opposition comes from Republicans, but a majority of independents also oppose the deal. Democrats are evenly divided on the matter.
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