In a new CBS News / New York Times poll released on Thursday, a record 82 percent of Americans surveyed said they disapproved of the work being done by congressional lawmakers, CBS News reported
. The 82 percent figure is the highest since polling began in 1977 and marks the first time congressional disapproval numbers topped 80 percent.
Congressional job approval ratings have been notoriously low, but the new figures point to the difficulties ahead for incumbent legislators in the upcoming 2011 and 2012 elections.
The poll was released under the shadow of a contentious debt ceiling debate between congressional Democrats and Republicans that nearly resulted in a U.S. federal debt default. The agreement to lift the federal debt ceiling is seen by many as having come without meaningful structural reform in spending and in revenue, and it remained unclear if the U.S. would experience a downgrade on its overall debt rating by the leading institutions that monitor the financial health of private and public enterprises.
The survey was conducted on August 2 and 3, in the moments after the debt ceiling deal was reached.
Global stock markets crashed on Thursday, bringing the U.S. Dow Jones Industrial Average down over 500 points, CNBC reported on Thursday
. The broad market downturns reflected a general lack of confidence in the Eurozone economies to rebound after waves of fiscal stimulus. In the U.S., unemployment has remained persistently above the 9 percent mark, and worries continued to circulate that the American housing market remained in a hole.
The prospect of a U.S. debt downgrade from the triple A rating the nation has enjoyed for decades is also looming over financial markets. A downgrade would result in significant interest rate increases, further impeding the flow of capital to businesses in need of loans and to residential mortgages.
All of these concerns are landing on the doorsteps of the nation's legislative and executive leaders, as Americans increasingly look to their government to help correct the impact from the anemic economy.
"Eighty-four percent of Americans are either dissatisfied (56 percent) or angry (28 percent) with Washington, a record high in CBS News/New York Times polling," Brian Montopoll reported for CBS News. "Only 14 percent are satisfied with Washington, and just one percent is enthusiastic."