USA Today: Seven months before the midterm elections, Americans seem disaffected about nearly everything political.
A majority disapprove of both political parties, their leaders and most members of Congress, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds.
Attitudes are reminiscent of those in 1994 and 2006, when control of Congress switched from one party to the other.
The favorable rating for the Democratic Party has fallen to its lowest level since Gallup began asking the question in 1992 —its standing has dropped 14 percentage points since President Obama's election — but the Republican Party fares no better. Three of four Americans say they are dissatisfied with the country's direction.
The good feeling that welcomed Obama with the departure of President George W. Bush seems to have dissipated amid continued concerns about the economy and a growing willingness to hold the new president responsible for the nation's travails.
"If the election were now, we'd have a 'change' election; we'd have a 1994," says Stan Greenberg, pollster for President Bill Clinton when Democrats lost control of the House and Senate that year. Greenberg questions whether Republicans will be in a position to capitalize on voter discontent.
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Americans are unhappy but not apathetic.
In the poll, 62% of registered voters say they are "more enthusiastic than usual" about the election, a level of engagement found during some presidential election years but never before in a midterm.
By Election Day, developments on jobs, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and other events could reshape the political landscape.
"I believe that if we begin to see positive job growth, people's confidence will return, and that will change the dynamic," says Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen, head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. But, he says, "the Democrats obviously face an uphill climb. The question is the steepness of the hill." (continue reading here)