By almost every conceivable measure Americans are less positive and more critical of government these days. A new Pew Research Center survey finds a perfect storm of conditions associated with distrust of government -- a dismal economy, an unhappy public, bitter partisan-based backlash, and epic discontent with Congress and elected officials.
Rather than an activist government to deal with the nation's top problems, the public now wants government reformed and growing numbers want its power curtailed. With the exception of greater regulation of major financial institutions, there is less of an appetite for government solutions to the nation's problems -- including more government control over the economy -- than there was when Barack Obama first took office.
Some of the numbers tell more of a story than others, such as how last March, 54 to 37 percent believed it was a good idea for government to exert more control over the economy and now, 51 percent do not think it is such a good idea.
Favorable ratings for the Democratic Party have fallen by 21 points over the past year and now stand at their lowest point in Pew Research surveys.
More on that survey from Washington Post and Wall Street Journal.
While Obamacare and other issues have been highlighted recently, the public has not forgotten the bailouts and when Rasmussen surveys them, 57 percent say they have more trust for politicians that voted against the bailouts than they do for those that voted it for them.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 57% of likely U.S. voters have more confidence in the judgment of a member of Congress who voted against bailouts than in the judgment of one who voted for them. Just 21% trust the judgment of a Congress member who voted for bailouts more. Another 22% are undecided.
While Republicans and those not affiliated with either party trust members of congress more if they voted against the bailouts, surprisingly, Democratic voters are narrowly divided on the question.
82 percent of Republicans and 59 percent of Independents believe government is the problem, not the solution and almost half the Democrats agree.
Tea Party news in these surveys shows that while the Tea Party is relatively new (a year) their numbers are rising as is their support.
Twenty-four percent (24%) of voters now consider themselves a part of the Tea Party movement. Another 10% say they are not a part of the anti-big government movement but have close friends or family members who are.
Most voters (52%) believe the average member of the Tea Party movement has a better understanding of the issues facing America today than the average member of Congress. Only 30% believe that those in Congress have a better understanding of the key issues facing the nation.
The rise in Tea Party support comes at a time when more voters than ever (58%) favor repeal of the national health care plan just passed by Democrats in Congress and signed into law by the president. Most voters remain convinced that the health care plan will require an increase in taxes on the middle class as a time when 66% of voters believe America is already overtaxed.
Gallup confirms with "Six in 10 Americans Expect Their Taxes to Increase" within the next 12 months.
What does all this mean to the 2010 elections for Senate members and House members?
According to Gallup for generic ballot for congress, meaning a question of Democrat or Republican, with no candidates listed, Republicans have risen to a 4 point lead over Democrats at 48 percent to 44 percent. (Changes weekly as new surveys are done)
According to Andrew Kohut, President, Pew Research Center:
Tea Party supporters augur well for the Republicans in November's midterm elections: the politically energized supra conservatives -- the one in five who are universally disaffected with national conditions, and with Barack Obama and with his policies -- are likely to be a strong advantage in the midterms, where typically fewer than four of 10 eligible citizens vote.
The boost that Tea Party supporters give Republican candidates may be especially decisive this year given how politically asleep the Democrats appear. In every poll the latter register as far less enthusiastic about voting than do Republicans generally, not to mention Tea Party adherents.
The levels of dissatisfaction with government interference, mixed with a President and a democratically controlled Senate and House, integrating themselves into even more aspects of American's lives, creates an atmosphere that is being referred to as "toxic" for Democrats coming into the midterm elections.
The Rothenberg Political Report: "Substantial Republican gains are inevitable, with net Democratic losses now looking to be at least two dozen. At this point, GOP gains of 25-30 seats seem likely, though considerably larger gains in excess of 40 seats certainly seem possible."
The Cook Political Report: "Combining its own race-by-race calculations with the results of national polls, The Cook Political Report officially projects a Republican gain of 30 to 40 seats. I suspect that the GOP will do even better if the trend over the past seven months continues," Charlie Cook writes in today's National Journal.
And House Race Hotline editor Tim Sahd: "We currently see Dem House losses of 25 to 35 seats, but considering the GOP momentum shows no signs of slowing, a 40+ GOP gain -- and with it, the majority -- isn't out of the question. Local and national polling confirms the GOP upsurge."