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Poll: Most dissatisfied with how democracy works in U.S.

By Paul Steinhauser, CNN Deputy Political Director
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Top culprits of Washington
  • Most respondents in CNN poll say democracy not working in United States
  • Government officials are out of touch, focused on being re-elected, poll says
  • Two-thirds of all Americans say they would not be able to run country as officials currently do

Tune in to CNN all this week for a special series, "Broken Government"

Washington (CNN) -- Nearly six in 10 Americans say they are dissatisfied with the way democracy is working in the United States, according to a new national poll.

Forty percent of people questioned in the CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll say they are satisfied with the way democracy is working in this country, with 59 percent saying they are dissatisfied.

"One reason that Americans think the government is broken is that they think the way we choose our elected officials is broken," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

The poll released Thursday also indicates Americans don't think very highly of government officials. Eight in 10 think that government officials are out of touch, influenced by special interests, and mainly concerned with getting re-elected.

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Despite that, according to the poll, two-thirds of all Americans admit that they would not be able to do as good a job of running the country as government officials currently do.

"Men are almost twice as likely as women to say they could do a better job running the government," Holland notes. "More Republicans feel that way than Democrats, and Independents are even more likely than members of either party."

According to CNN poll numbers released Sunday, Americans overwhelmingly think that the government in the country is broken, but the public overwhelmingly holds out hope that what's broken can be fixed.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted February 12-15, with 1,023 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points for the overall survey.