For the first time in his presidency, significantly more Americans disapprove than approve of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as president and and the margin of strong disapproval over strong approval has widened. But the public is also profoundly discontented with the political leadership of both parties, angry at the federal government and dissatisfied with the way things are going in the country.
More Americans now think that members of Congress who support the Tea Party are having a negative effect than said that in January, at the start of the new Congress.
Americans have more confidence in President Obama than other key players to do the right thing on the debt issue, but that amounts to only about half of the public. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor gets the lowest vote of confidence, although that is partly because he is less well-known.
Americans' are less discontent with the federal government but no more ready for political compromise. Views of Congress remain heavily negative, while Obama's ratings stay positive. On social issues, the public is, for the first time, evenly split on gay marriage, while support for legal abortion, legalized marijuana -- but not gun control -- have all risen.
Views of the Patriot Act have changed little since the Bush administration, with slightly more Americans currently saying it is a necessary security tool rather than a threat to civil liberties. Democrats are now somewhat more supportive of the law.
The American public's sour mood is in interesting contrast with many of the public's views during the Great Depression of the 1930s, not only on economic, political and social issues, but also on the role of government in addressing them.
In the depths of the 1981-1982 recession, Americans were far more displeased with their president and his policies than were their predecessors during the Great Depression, more so even than in today's high-unemployment economy.
Despite all the animosity aimed at Washington, one usual political punching bag is actually not seen as villainous as it once was: taxes. More say they pay about the right amount in taxes than say they pay more than their fair share.
Nearly all Americans consider themselves patriotic and voice pride in being American. But many of those who voice strong patriotism and pride in the country also are highly critical of the federal government and its political leaders.
Fully 82% of internet users (61% of all Americans) looked for information or completed a transaction on a government website in the past year. Most government website visitors were happy with their experience, accomplishing everything or much of what they wanted to do.