Here’s Why Americans May Not Turn Out for Elections This Year

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This past year has put a strain on American’s relationship with Washington. There was the IRS scandal, Fast and Furious, the government shutdown over Obamacare, and the Snowden leaks and NSA scandal — not to mention a distinct lack of progress on major items such as immigration. Americans are frustrated, and for politicians headed into election, this will be bad news. Midterm elections are usually a little slower in terms of voter turnout — especially for Democrats — but this year may prove an especially big challenge both in getting votes for incumbents and encouraging voters to show up at all.

The newest poll from The Wall Street Journal/NBC News shows that across parties, the feeling is largely negative. It reports that only 36 percent of Democrats feel positively towards Democrats and 25 percent report positive feelings for Republicans. The poll puts positive feelings for Hillary Clinton at 48 percent, President Barack Obama at 44 percent, Rand Paul at 23 percent, and Jeb Bush at 21 percent. Gallup put Obama’s job approval slightly lower, at 42.4 percent in April, a slight increase over the initial 41.2 percent in the previous quarter.

The Journal/NBC poll also looked at public confidence in various organizations, and showed telling comparisons. The military and high-tech industry fared well, both over the 50 percent mark at 69 and 53 percent, respectively. Religious leaders/organizations, national news media, large corporations, and the federal government all received discouraging marks, though. Religious leaders did best of the four, at 24 percent saying they have a great deal or quite a bit of confidence. After that comes the national news media with — ouch! — 19 percent confidence, the federal government at 16 percent, and large corporations at 13 percent. The stats on the federal government was then broken down by partisanship, which showed that Republicans, of course, had less confidence, with 59 percent saying they had very little or no confidence. Still, even Democrats showed 30 percent saying they had very little to no confidence in the American national government, 5 percent more than report having quite a bit or a great.

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