Gallup: Dysfunctional gov’t passes economy as top concern

posted at 2:41 pm on October 9, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Alternate headline: Americans finally start paying attention to the results of electionsGallup’s latest survey on issue prioritization shows that a third of Americans now think the biggest public issue is the public sector itself:

Americans are now more likely to name dysfunctional government as the most important problem facing the country than to name any other specific problem. Thirty-three percent of Americans cite dissatisfaction with government and elected representatives as the nation’s top issue, the highest such percentage in Gallup’s trend dating back to 1939. Dysfunctional government now eclipses the economy (19%), unemployment (12%), the deficit (12%), and healthcare (12%) as the nation’s top problem.

Americans’ mentions of either the economy in general or jobs in particular as the nation’s top problem had already been declining in 2013. Both issues dropped further as top-of-mind concerns in the Oct. 3-6 survey, conducted in the midst of the U.S. government shutdown.

At the same time, the percentage of Americans who mention some aspect of government leadership as the nation’s top problem has doubled, 33% this month from 16% last month. This almost certainly reflects the current upheaval in Washington and party leaders’ inability to agree on a way to fund the government or avoid a possible government default. October is the first time since 2008 when an economic issue was not at the top of Americans’ list of most important problems.

Of course, this heightened concern comes at a time when the dysfunction is made clear, when the federal government has been partially shut down over a budget impasse. However, Gallup’s survey during the 1995-6 shutdown showed that concern over government dysfunction peaked at 17%, roughly half of what it is now.  At that time, 28% of respondents thought the deficit — the issue on which that shutdown fight was based — was a bigger problem than dysfunction.  In this case, deficit concerns are only about a third of that over dysfunction, and that plus health care still comes up short by nine points.

One point to keep in mind, though, is that “dysfunctional government” is a broad term without a necessarily specific application.  Obviously, the dysfunction between Congress and the White House would be a major component of this concern, but it might not be all of it.  One could argue that even after the shutdown gets resolved, the ongoing incompetence in ObamaCare exchanges might keep that figure high for quite a while longer.

This might be another explanation:

As we reported last Thursday, the historic Cliff House restaurant — a privately owned profitable business which sits on land controlled by the National Park Service — was suddenly ordered to close by the Obama administration on October 3.

Then on Monday, October 7, with little fanfare, Cliff House’s owners Dan and Mary Hountalas decided to defy the government’s closure order and instead re-open for business, to the delight of the hundreds of tourists and locals who dine there every day. When word leaked out that the Cliff House had re-opened, the local National Park Service office consulted with Washington, D.C., and then issued a second (and apparently firmer) order to the owners to re-close the restaurant; the owners were then forced to unwillingly comply for a second time last night at midnight:

The famed Cliff House restaurant has been forced to shut its doors for the remainder of the federal government shutdown, after it defied orders by reopening earlier this week.

Diners who learned of the new closure were none too happy, to say the least:

“That’s outrageous! Are you serious?” Hubbard said as she walked out of the restaurant, the sunset glazing the windows behind her. “It is very stupid! Why are people deprived of a job? Why do the rest of us have to stop enjoying the parks?”

Hubbard wasn’t alone in her outrage at missing out on the $10 endive salad or the $27 mahi mahi.

“You’re kidding me,” said Ken Evans, who was visiting from Visalia and stopped by the Cliff House to take in the view. “You know what, I would stay open if I were them. You can’t close these things down.”

As these intrusions become more malicious and arbitrary, Americans are going to come to the conclusion that we have too much government, not just dysfunctional government, and that will become more and more of a priority.  The Obama administration is working its Big Government philosophy out of a job.


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Oh, that the last sentence will be true…

VastRightWingConspirator on October 9, 2013 at 2:45 PM

Shouldn’t people be worried about kidnappers?

faraway on October 9, 2013 at 2:45 PM

Let it burn.

mrscullen on October 9, 2013 at 2:45 PM

Obama pivots to economy.

1st agenda item: “Now, about those Redskins …”

dissent555 on October 9, 2013 at 2:45 PM

When you have a chief executive that won’t negotiate with anyone and bounces around like an atom in free space it’s no wonder there’s concern.

rplat on October 9, 2013 at 2:48 PM

Free the Cliff House !!

Free the National Parks !!

dissent555 on October 9, 2013 at 2:48 PM

GOP needs to push hard on the Obama lack of leadership message – make him own his incompetence.

besser tot als rot on October 9, 2013 at 2:49 PM

It’s about time people start DEMANDING that they be arrested. When the NPS gets hit with SEVERAL HUNDRED false arrests suits, maybe that will give them pause. Especially when THE OFFICER is also named as a DEFENDANT.

GarandFan on October 9, 2013 at 2:49 PM

The American people need to be emancipated from this media complex.

Murphy9 on October 9, 2013 at 2:52 PM

Shoulda stayed dead:

Donald Miller was last reported in Arcadia around 1986 and was declared dead in 1994, she has said.

Robin Miller declined to testify on Monday.

She said after the court hearing that Donald Miller left the state with hefty child support bills. He was scared of a jail term, she said.

He owed about $26,000 in overdue child support by 1994, she has said.

Robin Miller opposed his request for a change in the death ruling, because she does not want to repay the Social Security benefits. She does not have the money, she said.

Robin Miller said it would be fine if his Social Security number was reinstated. She said she sympathizes with him, but points to his decisions.

Judge Davis referred to Donald Miller’s case as a “strange, strange situation.”

“We’ve got the obvious here. A man sitting in the courtroom, he appears to be in good health,” Davis said.

Miller made a decision to leave the state to avoid paying child support, Davis said.

But the three-year time limit on the death ruling is clear, Davis said.

“I don’t know where that leaves you, but you’re still deceased as far as the law is concerned,” Davis said.

http://www.thecourier.com/Issues/2013/Oct/08/ar_news_100813_story2.asp?d=100813_story2,2013,Oct,08&c=n

davidk on October 9, 2013 at 2:57 PM

The real cancer is the media.

John the Libertarian on October 9, 2013 at 2:57 PM

Don’t see why those folks in San Francisco are angry. Didn’t they overwhelmingly endorse the coronation of King Barry I?

Maybe they can petition Nancy Pelosi for a dispensation from park closures.

Didn’t she get the National Mall open for her illegal alien friends?

GarandFan on October 9, 2013 at 2:58 PM

But muh president shutdown

Flapjackmaka on October 9, 2013 at 3:03 PM

Isn’t that in Pelosi’s district? Couldn’t have happened in a better city.

Xasprtr on October 9, 2013 at 3:03 PM

Especially when THE OFFICER is also named as a DEFENDANT.

GarandFan on October 9, 2013 at 2:49 PM

Unless there is documented proof that said officer exceeded his/her authority that will be tossed out. Citizen A was warned that the park is closed but decided to trespass and was arrested for trespassing after being warned. Happens every single week in DC with various protestors. Any Judge will have to dismiss that suit against the officer.

So far there has not been one recorded instance of any “illegal arrests” or orders. Until and unless that changes, all we have so far is simple Civil Disobedience which is almost a daily occurrence somewhere in the Capitol area. Most don’t even get reported on.

Johnnyreb on October 9, 2013 at 3:06 PM

And — sorry to go to that Dark Place — but, given the type of behavior that branches of the Federal Government have engaged in against law-abiding citizens over the past week…

… Does anyone seriously believe that a national door-to-door, round-up-the-guns effort by the Federal Government is out of the realm of possibility?

I used to. But I don’t any more.

VastRightWingConspirator on October 9, 2013 at 3:07 PM

I wonder if the spike in people whose opinion is the government is dysfunctional think it’s dysfunctional for the same reasons we do.

“The government is bad.” vs “Those republicans are bad.”

ConDem on October 9, 2013 at 3:09 PM

I move for an immediate vote of no confidence in Chancellor Velorum Emperor Barky….

dentarthurdent on October 9, 2013 at 3:10 PM

Dysfunctional?! Dysfunctional? Are people dumb, blind, lazy, or all three?

It’s not dysfunctional. Dysfunctional can be corrected.

IT’S CORRUPT!

Cleombrotus on October 9, 2013 at 3:11 PM

Left wing Yahoo News headline: “America Points Finger at Republicans”

Wigglesworth on October 9, 2013 at 3:11 PM

Don’t see why those folks in San Francisco are angry. Didn’t they overwhelmingly endorse the coronation of King Barry I?
Maybe they can petition Nancy Pelosi for a dispensation from park closures.
Didn’t she get the National Mall open for her illegal alien friends?

GarandFan on October 9, 2013 at 2:58 PM

Yup. Suck it up libtards – you voted for it – you deserve it.

dentarthurdent on October 9, 2013 at 3:14 PM

It’s ridiculous to close the Cliffhouse. It’s not just a restaurant but a huge bar on a floor below it with large windows and a view of the ocean. It’s on the end of a main drag in SF. It’s not in any park land or on a beach. The nps has nothing to do with it. WE own the land as the nps as our employee has granted a concession. If I owned a business, I would throw out every NPS employee I could find. Two can play that game…

Blake on October 9, 2013 at 3:14 PM

… Does anyone seriously believe that a national door-to-door, round-up-the-guns effort by the Federal Government is out of the realm of possibility?

I used to. But I don’t any more.

VastRightWingConspirator on October 9, 2013 at 3:07 PM

How could they possibly orchestrate that without people finding out? If something like that started it would be everywhere on the internet, twitter, etc. And they would face an angry armed populace before they could even show up at 1% of suspected gun owners houses. How many troops did we have in Iraq and Afghanistan at the peak? 200,000 about and we couldn’t stop people from making IED’s. There are not that many police in this country and the estimated number of households that own guns are more than the entire population if Iraq.

There are not enough Federal, State and Local police to simultaneously go to each house that supposedly has guns in one state let alone all 50 even if they had a list.

Where would they start? There is no gun registry, so how would they know where to go? Even if the NICS system is keeping a record, the police do not have even 1/10 of 1% of the resources needed to do this.

Johnnyreb on October 9, 2013 at 3:17 PM

Definition of dysfunction:

Projected cost of establishing the Error404Care website: $93.7 million

ACTUAL COST: $634,320,919

But, he’s fiscally responsible and Obamacare is GREAT!

Resist We Much on October 9, 2013 at 3:18 PM

oh yeaeth, another poll driven editorial

DanMan on October 9, 2013 at 3:18 PM

As these intrusions become more malicious and arbitrary, Americans are going to come to the conclusion that we have too much government, not just dysfunctional government, and that will become more and more of a priority. The Obama administration is working its Big Government philosophy out of a job.

If a Republican president was running this shutdown, it would be invisible to 99.99% of Americans.

slickwillie2001 on October 9, 2013 at 3:22 PM

davidk on October 9, 2013 at 2:57 PM

OT/Thanks for that. :) Might be using it for something.

Axe on October 9, 2013 at 3:23 PM

In other news, Obama’s approval rating has climbed down to 37% in the latest Gallup poll.

hawksruleva on October 9, 2013 at 3:24 PM

This is an excellent analysis and summary of the last week by Janice Shaw Crouse, senior fellow at Concerned Women for America’s Beverly LaHaye Institute.

Community Organizer Runs Amok
The shutdown reveals our president at his most unbalanced.

She runs the gamut from the Senate and the President bearing sole responsibility for the shut down to Obama’s community organizing approach to making the shut down consequences as “as painful as possible.”

Here’s the piece by Sowell that she refers to:

Who Shut Down the Government?

INC on October 9, 2013 at 3:27 PM

Johnnyreb on October 9, 2013 at 3:17 PM

I should have offered that I love in the Peoples’ Republic of Kalifornia. We have insanely strict registrations; and forget concealed carry.

VastRightWingConspirator on October 9, 2013 at 3:33 PM

davidk on October 9, 2013 at 2:57 PM

Isn’t it in his best interest to stay dead? If he’s dead, he doesn’t have to pay taxes, but can still sign up for Obamacare…and vote. :P

Othniel on October 9, 2013 at 3:33 PM

VA Director says he may not be able to send Disability checks to over 5 million disabled veterans … “unless congress passes a budget”.

Someone might want to tell him that there hasn’t been a federal budget for 4 of the last 5 years.

This is so obviously the Obama administration applying pressure for the House to cave and give them what they want.

The fact is that HOUSE passed a CR that funded everything…in exchange for a one year delay in the implementation of the individual mandate which would have given American citizens the same treatment as Obama’s friends… like big business. The House has also been passing single item bills that would have funded programs for the disabled, and seniors, as well as the National Guard. The Senate, which, along with Obama, has failed to produce a viable budget for four of the last five years… has refused them all.

thatsafactjack on October 9, 2013 at 3:34 PM

As these intrusions become more malicious and arbitrary, Americans are going to come to the conclusion that we have too much government, not just dysfunctional government, and that will become more and more of a priority. The Obama administration is working its Big Government philosophy out of a job.

I hope you are right but I tend to doubt it. This is like Congressional approval numbers. Everybody holds Congress in low esteem but THEIR particular Congresscritter is the exception to the rule. Same holds true here. Everybody holds that there is too much government but don’t you dare touch [insert pet program, agency, or entitlement here].

Happy Nomad on October 9, 2013 at 3:49 PM

“A government big enough to give you everything you want, is a government big enough to take away everything that you have.”

Dandapani on October 9, 2013 at 3:56 PM

Parks may be loosening up a bit.

BKeyser on October 9, 2013 at 4:08 PM

What shut down? How can you have a shut down when every one gets paid, no work is done, and only “We the People” are made to pay. The true crimes here are two.

First, no matter what side you take or what opinions you may have, this one basic fact remains. The spending and budget is in a road of no return to the End of Days. If it is not corrected NOW there may be no return from the end of our democracy.

Second, the true crime committed on “We the People” by the government. Is committed equally by all, should never be excepted by any and is condoned by a controlled media. It is the crime if intentional misdirection , lies, and coverup on nearly every front. The over classification of information and use of Executive privilege NOT for the need of national security but solely to over up government wrong doings.

I hold these truths to be self evident that they fore tell the demise of our once great nation.

jpcpt03 on October 9, 2013 at 4:27 PM

You know, Obama and his ilk have the souls of extortionists.

flataffect on October 9, 2013 at 5:33 PM

Gallup: Dysfunctional gov’t passes economy as top concern

Since the first is causing the second, that actually makes sense.

What we really have here is the House flexing their Constitutional power to defund, and the president doing his best to pressure them to fall in line.

And when I say the president is doing his best, I mean he is unconstrained by honor, honesty, or even decency.

Put it all in context. Every action demonstrates how far the president is willing to go to strip the House of the ability to resist him.

He’s willing to cut cancer research for children, block citizens from even viewing public land, lock up tourists in a hotel with armed guards and block them from taking pictures of bison or of Old Faithful, put sawhorses across scenic overviews, close down private businesses, close down Mount Vernon even though it uses no government money, close down open-air national monuments, fine people for running on public land, and refuse to allow fishing or hunting in national parks.

Nothing is too petty to be beneath him.

There Goes the Neighborhood on October 9, 2013 at 7:05 PM

I think this is wonderful. Wealthy, liberal San Francisco is going to be inconvenienced by the one.

burt on October 9, 2013 at 7:48 PM