The acrimonious battle between Republicans and the Democrats over raising the U.S. debt ceiling has resulted in dissatisfaction among a majority of Americans over Congress' ability to function, a new poll reveals.
A record 82 percent of Americans say that they disapprove of the way Congress is doing its job, compared with 14 percent who approve, according to a New York Times/CBS News public opinion poll published on Thursday.
The poll was conducted on Aug. 2 and Aug. 3, just after the Congress reached an agreement to raise the nation's $14.3 trillion debt ceiling and cut federal spending by $2.5 trillion. The deal was signed into law just hours before the nation was on the verge of default.
The survey provides a comprehensive insight into the public's opinion about the entire debt deal and proceedings. An overwhelming 82 percent of those polled said that the disagreement over the debt ceiling was more about gaining political advantage.
Only 12 percent said that it was in the best interests of the country. Moreover, 71 percent of those surveyed said that debt ceiling negotiations had hampered the image of the United States in the world.
Republicans were more to blame for creating obstacles to a smooth negotiation, the poll found. Seventy-two percent of the poll respondents disapproved of the way Republicans in Congress handled the negotiations, while 66 percent disapproved of the actions by Democrats in Congress in addressing the problem.
Besides, more than half of those surveyed said that Republicans had compromised too little, while 34 percent said President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress did not compromise enough.
While the deal approved cuts in government spending, most of those surveyed said that employment generation should take a priority over spending cuts.
Moreover, half of the poll respondents said that the debt ceiling agreement should have included increased tax revenue, which the Republicans were vehemently opposed to. Tax increases are not a part of the deal. Only 44 percent said the agreement should have relied on spending cuts alone.
Responses to President Obama's leadership qualities and his handling of the negotiations were mixed. Forty-seven percent disapproved of the way he handled the talks while 46 percent approved the same.
However, respondents displayed more confidence in the President's ability to steer the nation's economy in the right direction. Forty-seven percent trusted President Obama to take the right decisions about the nation's economy, while 33 percent said they trusted the Republicans.
The nationwide telephone poll of 960 adults revealed that most of them were more concerned about the nation's fragile economy and were dissatisfied with the way things were going on in Washington.
View the full poll document here.