Government discontent at an all-time high

by Greta Kaul

Americans’ distrust of government is at an all-time high, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll conducted Monday. Nearly all Americans fear the economy is stagnating or getting worse.

Presidential candidates have just over a year until election day. Nearly half of the public thinks the feelings that spawned Occupy Wall Street reflect the sentiment of most Americans, the New York Times reports. A CBS News poll in February found that 27 percent of Americans said the Tea Party’s views reflected most Americans’.

Monday’s poll found that two-thirds of Americans want a more equal distribution of wealth. Seven in 10 Americans think Congressional Republicans’ policies favor the rich. Two-thirds object to tax cuts for corporations and two-thirds favor increasing millionaires’ income taxes.

Americans’ fear may explain a lot of the volatility in presidential campaigns. Republicans are unenthused with their slate of presidential candidates for 2012, according to a poll. As of Tuesday, President Barack Obama’s approval rating was 46 percent — a slight elevation from before, possibly due to the announcement that Iraq troops would come home by the end of the year. Obama’s jobs bill has mixed reviews from the public. While most surveyed agreed with some of its measures, the majority said he lacked a clear plan for job creation.

Congress’s approval has also reached a new low — 9 percent, as compared to 31 percent at the beginning of the year, when Republicans took control of the House of Representatives.