Elections

By JENNIFER AGIESTA
Associated Press
Aug 7, 2014 – 3:04 AM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — The latest Associated Press-GfK poll finds the nation dissatisfied with what Congress and President Barack Obama have done lately, and few expect much more after the midterm elections. Here’s a look at five things to know from the poll.

DISAPPROVAL DOMINATES

Nearly 9 in 10 Americans say they disapprove of how Congress is handling its job, and 6 in 10 disapprove of the president.

More than half of Americans, 54 percent, disapprove of both.

Among this group, 94 percent say the nation is heading in the wrong direction. About 7 in 10 say someone new ought to win in their congressional district and about half say they are completely certain they’ll vote this November. Most, 57 percent, are Republicans or say they lean that way, and 51 percent want to see the GOP wind up in control of Congress this fall.

That Republican tilt stems more from ratings for the president than from those of Congress. Partisanship largely drives presidential disapproval – only 27 percent of Democrats disapprove of Obama’s performance while 90 percent of Republicans do – but Congress inspires distaste from both sides of the aisle. Among both Democrats and Republicans, 86 percent disapprove of Congress’ performance, and 84 percent of independents join them.

THE “WHO CARES” BLOC

One-third of Americans say they hope the Republicans take control of Congress outright this fall, and the same share want to see Democrats lead Congress. The final third? They say it just doesn’t matter who takes control of Congress.

So who says they don’t care?

Among independents, 77 percent say it just doesn’t matter who takes control of Congress this fall. The remainder are split evenly – 11 percent favor the Democrats, 11 percent the Republicans.

Overall, those who say it doesn’t much matter are younger (63 percent are under age 50) and largely uninterested in the upcoming election (just 28 percent say they have a great deal or quite a bit of interest in following it).

Still, this group isn’t completely disengaged from politics.

Three in 10 who say it really doesn’t matter who wins are also completely certain they’ll turn out to vote Nov. 4. The economy is far and away their top issue: 84 percent call it important, with health care second at 74 percent.

SOMEONE GET WASHINGTON A GPS

All told, only 28 percent of Americans think the nation is heading in the right direction, the lowest level in August of an election year since 2008. It’s about on par with 2006, when Democrats took control of the House amid a backlash to the Iraq war.

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