New Poll Says, Take Heart Congress! You're Still More Popular than Putin

The American people like the banks that they hate more than they like Congress. But Congress still beats Russian president Vladimir Putin, so that's something. So says a new poll from theWall Street Journal and NBC News.
Just 21% of Americans have a favorable view of Wall Street, compared with one-third who have a negative view.

But that 12 percentage point differential means Wall Street isn’t as unpopular as both Democrats in Congress, who have higher favorability ratings but also higher unfavorability ratings, and Republicans in Congress, who are viewed less positively than Wall Street and far more negatively.

Bar chart showing popularity of Putin, Congress, Wall Street, Obama
The poll finds that there is profound anxiety in the public about the economy, with 54 percent agreeing "the widening income gap between the wealthy and everyone else is undermining the idea that every American has the opportunity for a better standard of living." With good reason. Well more than two-thirds, 71 percent, were personally impacted by the recession "a lot" or "just some," and 64 percent say they are still hurting from it. Forty percent say someone in their household has lost a job in the past five years, 27 percent have at least $5,000 in student loan debts, 20 percent more than $2,000 in credit card debt, and 17 percent reporting that they've got a parent or an adult child living with them because of economic or health reasons.

No wonder "79 percent of respondents are dissatisfied with the U.S. political system, including nearly half who are very dissatisfied." And 71 percent of them pin that on the "inability of elected officials in Washington to get things done to improve the economy." What does that mean for November? Pollster Peter Hart isn't sure: "We’re unhappy, but we aren’t coalescing around an issue."


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