Public Loses Confidence in Congressional Leaders and Ability to Handle Deficit; Republican Leaders Hardest Hit

As debates over deficit reduction approach, the public's confidence in congressional leaders, especially Republican leaders, has decreased. Last May, according to a report published by the Pew Research Center, 47% said they had a great deal or fair amount of confidence in Republican congressional leaders in addressing the government budget deficit. Since May, this percentage of those confident in Republican congressional leaders has sharply decreased to 35%. However, a national survey conducted by the Pew Research center for the People & the Press in mid-September found the public's confidence in Barack Obama's on the same issue to have held relatively steady; currently 52% have a fair amount of confidence in Obama to address the deficit issue, down only slightly from 55% who said the same earlier this year. Democratic congressional leaders have also lost public trust, although not to the same extent as Republicans. Currently, 43% say they have a great deal or fair amount of confidence in Democratic leaders, down from last May's 51%.

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