By NEDRA PICKLER and JENNIFER AGIESTA
2013-10-12 03:01 AM
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Americans are fed up with Washington's gridlock and are spreading derision around to President Barack Obama and both political parties, according to a new poll that comes as a potential default looms and a partial government shutdown lumbers on.
Negativity historically hurts the party in power -- particularly when it occurs in the second term of a presidency -- but this round seems to be hitting everyone, and Republicans even harder. The AP-GfK poll finds about 7 in 10 view the Republican Party and the tea party movement unfavorably, while about half have an unfavorable view of the president and his Democratic Party.
In the midst of the government shutdown and an approaching Oct. 17 deadline to increase the federal debt limit and avoid default, the president is faring much better than his party, with large majorities of those surveyed finding little positive to say about Democrats. The negatives are even higher for the Republicans across the board, with 4 out of 5 people describing the Republicans as unlikeable and dishonest and not compassionate, refreshing, inspiring or innovative.
The numbers offer warning signs for every lawmaker running for re-election, and if these angry sentiments stretch into next year, the 2014 elections could feel much like the 2006 and 2010 congressional midterms when being affiliated with Washington was considered toxic by many voters. In 2006, voters booted Republicans from power in the House of Representatives and Senate, and in 2010, they fired Democrats who had been controlling the House.
The poll taken Oct. 3-7 finds few people approve of the way Obama is handling most major issues, and most people say he's not decisive, strong, honest, reasonable or inspiring.
More people now say they see bigger differences between the two parties than before Obama was elected, yet few like what either side is offering. A big unknown: possible fallout from the unresolved budget battle in Washington.
A bad sign for Democrats is that Obama has bled support among independents -- 60 percent disapprove of the way Obama is handling his job, while only 16 percent approve. As he began his second term in January, independents tilted positive, 48 percent approved and 39 percent disapproved.
The AP-GfK Poll was conducted Oct. 3-7, 2013, using KnowledgePanel, GfK's probability-based online panel. It involved online interviews with 1,227 adults and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points for all respondents.
The survey was designed to be representative of the U.S. population. Respondents to the survey were first selected randomly using phone or mail survey methods and later interviewed online. Those who didn't otherwise have access to the Internet were provided with the ability to get online at no cost.
Associated Press News Survey Specialist Dennis Junius contributed to this report.
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