Rasmussen‘s latest survey shows anger at the federal government moving to a 3-1 position, with 71% of likely voters “angry”.  Almost a majority claim to be “very angry,” at 46%.  But what does that mean — and how would Congress and the White House defuse the anger?

Seventy-one percent (71%) of voters nationwide say they’re at least somewhat angry about the current policies of the federal government. That figure includes 46% who are Very Angry.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that only 27% are not angry about the government’s policies, including 10% who are Not at All Angry.

Men are angrier than women, and voters over 40 are more angry than those who are younger. A majority of those over 40 are Very Angry. Only 25% of under-30 voters share that view.

The data suggests that the level of anger is growing. The 71% who are angry at federal government policies today is up five percentage points since September.

Even more stunning, the 46% who are Very Angry is up 10 percentage points from September.

The most one can take out of the topline numbers is that 2010 will be a bad year for incumbents.  When voters get angry, they take it out at the ballot box, and that means Democrats will get the brunt of it regardless of the cause.  But Republicans do not comprise 71% of voters, nor even Republicans and independents put together, which means that some of the angry voters may be dissatisfied with the inability of Barack Obama and the Democrats to enact a progressive agenda.

In this sense, it’s about as useful an indicator as the right direction/wrong direction question every pollster likes to ask.  About the only predictive value it has is in measuring anti-incumbent tilt, a “throw the bums out” indicator.  “Direction,” like “anger,” depends entirely on the subjective evaluation of each individual.

But who’s the most angry?  In reviewing the crosstabs, there are some surprising results.  The angriest ethnic demographic is actually Other, with 87% either somewhat or very angry.  That’s in comparison to black voters, of which only 37% are angry and 57% are not, and white voters at 74/25.  Two-thirds of women are angry, and three-quarters of men.  The angriest age demographic is 40-49, but the 18-29 year olds are also pretty steamed, 69/31.  Independents are almost as angry as Republicans, 84/14 and 89/10 respectively, but Democrats aren’t exactly cheery at 46/49.  The only income demographic with less than 63% angry is the $100K+ sector.  The angriest income demos are the solidly middle class $40K-$60K (79/21) and $60k-$75K (76/15).

That gives us a better sense of the anger.  The middle class, which Barack Obama successfully wooed in 2008, have become very disenchanted with the current leadership.  Middle-aged people have also gotten angry.  The big problem for Democrats beyond the anti-incumbent tilt going into 2010 is the massive anger among independents, which we have tracked for several months.  Democrats appear to have completely alienated a key voting bloc, and furthermore, motivated them into action.  At the same time, they’re demotivating their own base.

If this trend continues, we may see an electoral wipeout next November.