Majority of Americans ‘Angry’ at Political System, Poll Shows

August 27, 2019by Reade Pickert
President Donald Trump mentioned Pete Hoekstra's name in connection with his search for a national intelligence director recently. In this file photo, he addresses the crowd at a rally held inside Total Sports Park in Washington, Mich., a town in northern Macomb County Saturday evening, April 27, 2018. (Tanya Moutzalias

WASHINGTON — Amid an escalating trade war, fears of an economic downturn and a crowded field of Democratic presidential hopefuls, a majority of Americans are simply “angry” at the U.S. political system, a new poll showed on Sunday.

An NBC News and The Wall Street Journal survey asked 1,000 adults how much they agreed with the statement they “feel angry because our political system seems to only be working for the insiders with money and power, like those on Wall Street or in Washington, rather than it working to help everyday people get ahead.”

Seventy percent responded affirmatively, with 43% saying the statement described their feelings “very well.” It’s a marginal increase from October 2015, when 69% responded affirmatively ahead of the 2016 election. The poll was conducted Aug. 10-14 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

“Four years ago, we uncovered a deep and boiling anger across the country engulfing our political system,” said Democratic pollster Jeff Horwitt of Hart Research Associates, which conducted the survey with the Republican firm Public Opinion Strategies.

“Four years later, with a very different political leader in place, that anger remains at the same level.”

And Americans’ anger came despite a feeling of relative economic well-being: the poll showed that respondents were satisfied, on the whole, with the present state of the U.S. economy and their finances.

That would typically be seen as a plus for President Donald Trump as he seeks re-election in 2020. When looking to the future, though, the majority of respondents — 56% — reported still feeling “anxious and uncertain” about the economic outlook.

The finding of economic dread was somewhat at odds with a CBS News poll, also released on Sunday, that showed slightly more Americans (38%) are optimistic about the economy going forward than pessimistic (35%).

The job market was the top reason Americans cited to be optimistic about the economy in the CBS poll. Despite recent downbeat readings in consumer confidence and manufacturing, the unemployment rate remains near the lowest levels in a half century, and wages have been ticking up.

The CBS News survey was conducted by YouGov and sampled 2,727 U.S. residents Aug. 20-22. It had a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

Both polls preceded Trump’s announcement Friday of a higher duty rate on U.S. imports from China. Even before that, though, 44% of respondents to the CBS survey said they didn’t think Trump’s trade approach to China would succeed. Only 25% said they truly believed it would.

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©2019 Bloomberg News

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