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Most Voters Are Still Angry

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Presidential frontrunner Donald Trump recently responded to critics of his abrasive campaign rhetoric by saying he would “gladly accept the mantle of anger” because the government is being run by “incompetent people.” Voters, especially Republicans, share that sentiment.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that two-out-of-three Likely U.S. Voters (67%) are angry at the current policies of the federal government, including 38% who are Very Angry. Thirty percent (30%) say they are not angry at these policies, but that includes just nine percent (9%) who are Not At All Angry. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

This is consistent with regular surveying since 2009, and it appears this anger is finally bubbling up in support of outsider presidential candidates like Trump and Bernie Sanders. This anger peaked at 75% in 2010, the year Republicans regained control of a portion of Congress.

But voters remain even angrier with Congress: 84% feel that way, with 53% who are Very Angry. Only 13% are not angry at Congress, including three percent (3%) who are Not At All Angry. This, too, is in line with surveying for the past several years.

Fifty-seven percent (57%) of voters are still angry at large corporations; 41% are not. This includes 29% who are Very Angry and 12% who are Not At All Angry. These findings also are nearly identical to past surveys.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on January 14 and 17, 2016 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

As election season moves into full swing, voters are closely divided over whether it is better to have one party in charge of both the White House and Congress or have a separate party in charge of each one.

With a Democrat in the White House, it is perhaps not surprising that 63% of Republicans are Very Angry with the policies of the federal government, while just 16% of Democrats and 38% of voters not affiliated with either major party agree. But, interestingly, even though Republicans now control both the House and Senate, GOP voters are just as angry with Congress as the others are.

Democrats express stronger anger toward large corporations than Republicans and unaffiliateds do which helps explain surging support for Sanders who has consistently attacked the practices and influence of these mega-businesses.

Those 40 and over are much angrier at both Congress and the policies of the federal government than younger voters are. Voters under 40 are angrier overall than their elders are at larger corporations, but middle-aged voters are the most likely to be Very Angry.

Seventy-seven percent (77%) of voters who Strongly Disapprove of President Obama’s performance are Very Angry with the policies of the federal government, but only nine percent (9%) of those who Strongly Approve of his performance agree. Voters who like the job Obama is doing are much more likely to be angry at large corporations. But most voters in both groups are angry at Congress.

One of the major issues Trump mentions as a source of anger has been the federal government’s handling of illegal immigration. Most voters continue to believe the government isn’t cracking down enough on illegal immigration and that the current policies and practices of the federal government encourage people to enter the United States illegally.

Most voters have made it clear that they want the federal government only to do what Congress and the president agree on, but they blame the GOP-led Congress more than Obama for the legislative gridlock in Washington, D.C.

Congress' job approval ratings have been dismal under both Republican and Democratic control. Obama's daily job approval rating remains in the negative teens where it's been for most of his presidency.

Just 19% trust the federal government to do the right thing all or most of the time.

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

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