Republicans and independents are largely responsible for the overall decrease in satisfaction with government effectiveness in recent years. Satisfaction among Republicans and independents began to wane during President George W. Bush’s final year in office. This may have reflected mounting public dissatisfaction with the Iraq war, coupled with the Democratic takeover of Congress after the 2006 midterm elections. Both groups’ satisfaction plummeted still more between 2008 and 2011, and has since dipped further. Republicans’ satisfaction went from a peak of 79% in 2005 to a low of 28% in each of the past two years. Meanwhile, Democrats’ satisfaction has been remarkably steady, generally hovering near 50%, and is essentially the same as it was in 2004 under a Republican president.
Democrats’ satisfaction might have been much higher today, with a Democrat in the White House, if not for the twin problems of the economy and partisan gridlock that have tarnished the government’s image among both parties. Satisfaction among Republicans, which has directly correlated with the party of the president in office, continues at its depressed level, with this year’s reading tying the record low from 2013. Satisfaction among independents, meanwhile, has gone down 10 percentage points during that same time.