Poll Finds Widespread Economic Anxiety

8/7/14
 
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from The Wall Street Journal,
8/6/14:

Respondents in WSJ/NBC Poll Fear Their Children’s Generation Will Have Fewer Opportunities—And They Blame Washington Politicians.

Still scarred by a recession that ended five years ago, Americans are registering record levels of anxiety about the opportunities available to younger generations and are pessimistic about the nation’s long-term prospects, directing their blame at elected leaders in Washington.

A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found that despite the steady pace of hiring in recent months, 76% of adults lack confidence that their children’s generation will have a better life than they do—an all-time high. Some 71% of adults think the country is on the wrong track, a leap of 8 points from a June survey, and 60% believe the U.S. is in a state of decline.

What’s more, seven in 10 adults blamed the malaise more on Washington leaders than on any deeper economic trends, and 79% expressed some level of dissatisfaction with the American political system.

“The American public is telling its elected representatives that the economic distress that a significant proportion of them are feeling is directly their fault,” said Democratic pollster Fred Yang, who conducts the Journal poll with Republican Bill McInturff. “The public seems to have moved beyond the plaintive cry of ‘feel our pain’ to the more angry pronouncement of ‘you are causing our pain.’ “

That frustration is taking its toll on President Barack Obama and members of Congress. Mr. Obama registered his lowest-ever approval rating for his overall job performance and handling of foreign policy in the new Journal poll, as well as the worst personal favorability ratings of his presidency.

The president’s approval rating dropped to 40% in this latest poll from 41% in a June survey, and he notched a disapproval rating of 54%, matching a previous high. Meanwhile, 36% approve of Mr. Obama’s handling of foreign policy, compared with the 60% who disapprove—his worst-ever marks.

Congressional Republicans fared even worse, with 54% of adults viewing them negatively and just 19% expressing positive views, a gap of 35 percentage points. Democrats in Congress were viewed negatively by 46% and favorably by 31%, a difference of 15 points.

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