Washington Post Poll Reveals Deep Dissatisfaction

Three of four Americans believe that the country is on the "wrong track" according to a new Washington Post-ABC Poll.

In addition, only 28% of the American people believe that Congress is doing a good job with 33% giving the President a passing grade. Democrats as a party are graded slightly higher than Republicans in Congress.

Overall, there is little for the GOP to cheer about in this poll. Only 29% of respondents identify themselves as Republicans with 35% seeing themselves as Democrats. On every major issue - from the economy to Iraq, to terrorism to health care - the Democrats are seen as being able to do a better job of handling the government. Nearly 70% of respondents believe we will be in a recession next year with 65% seeing the economy doing poorly at the present time.

While these numbers might indicate an anti-incumbent mood rather than an anti-GOP trend, there are two poll questions that reveal a surprising turn to the left by the electorate.

The first question has to do with people's view of government; do they want a small government with fewer services or a larger government with more services?

While conservatives still outpoll liberals 32%-25%, 44% of the American people now want a larger government offering more services with 50% desiring smaller government. This is way down from election day 2004 when 61% of the people desired smaller government and only 34% wanted it larger.

The second surprise was the question of who should be in charge of Congress after next year's election. Fifty four percent said Democrats while only 36% thought the GOP should rule.

As far as the horse race for the nomination, the Post sees the GOP race still wide open:

Former New York City mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani maintains a double-digit lead over his main rivals, but most of his supporters back his candidacy only "somewhat," and he has yet to gain momentum among key primary voting groups or to distinguish himself as the best candidate for the party.

Adding to the murkiness of the picture is that Republicans continue to be less satisfied with their candidate options than Democrats are with theirs. In the new poll, a third of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents said they would vote for Giuliani if their state's primary or caucus were held today. That puts him 14 percentage points ahead of Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) and 17 points ahead of former senator Fred D. Thompson (Tenn.).

Eleven percent said they would vote for former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, and 9 percent support former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee.
On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton is still far ahead of Barack Obama 49%-26% with John Edwards at 12%.
Polls are snapshots of what the electorate is thinking at the time. There is nothing pretty about this picture for the GOP and it shows that the Republicans have a lot of work to do over the next year if they expect to avoid an disaster in 2008.
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