This has been a summer of discontent in American politics. According to The Pew Research Center, 79 per cent of the U.S. public are dissatisfied with the way things are going in their country and even more are frustrated or angry with their federal government.
The Republicans are particularly out of favour. Since February, the approval rating of their leaders has dropped from a low 36 per cent to an abysmal 22 per cent. Democratic leaders aren't faring much better at 29 per cent. Approval of Republican leaders had jumped ahead of the Democrats by last November's election, but has plunged back below the Democrats since, rather as if Americans regret their decision to elect more Republicans.
The Republican Party's favourable rating has similarly declined, from 43 per cent in February to 34 per cent today. Again the Democrats did better, only dropping from 47 per cent favourable to 43, but still on the wrong side of 50.
President Obama has also seen his approval decline despite ridding the Americans of their nemesis, Osama bin Laden. Since the assassination in May, his approval rating has "declined markedly," and for the first time since he was elected, significantly more Americans disapprove than approve of the way he is doing his job.
This disenchantment with politicians is hardly surprising after the acrimonious budget debate, but it should, nonetheless, alert the two political parties, particularly the Republicans, that their constituents are fed up with politics as usual. Will the upcoming election year see a more civil, constructive political climate? Judging by the current crop of GOP presidential candidates, I doubt it.