By all accounts, America is not thrilled with its elected officials right now.
Congressional approval ratings are at all-time lows. And this week, amid a government shutdown that sent hundreds of thousands of federal workers home without pay, Americans’ confidence in the economy collapsed.
According to a CBS News poll released earlier this week, 44% of voters blame Republicans in Congress, while 35% blame President Obama and congressional Democrats. 17% blame both parties equally.
Independent voters alone, however, are more likely (24%) to cast equal blame on both parties, with 40% blaming Republicans and 30% blaming Democrats.
And while politicians remain in gridlock over how to end the government shutdown and raise the statutory debt limit, which the Treasury will hit Oct. 17, UBS senior lobbyist and managing director John Savercool says there is only one way that American opinion will give them a sense of urgency.
“The key thing to watch over the next week or two is how independent voters react to developments,” writes Savercool in a note to clients. “Only if independents swing heavily in favour of one side or the other will polling impact lawmaker thinking and positioning.“
Savercool expects the current episode of fiscal crisis in D.C. to be resolved by late October, but says it will only be a stop-gap solution.
“The fights will continue in the future as long as policymakers are unable to agree to a long-term deficit reduction deal, and it won’t be long before the parties wrestle again over fiscal policy issues,” he says. “Any solution [to the current crisis] is likely to be more modest than ambitious. It is likely to allow Washington to simply move past the current crises as a primary objective and not much more.”