Americans don't like big policy debates that drag on and on in a partisan stalemate, and the current fight over government spending and debt is no exception.
Since President Obama and House Republicans engaged in a shutdown showdown and fired opening shots over the debt ceiling and long-term fiscal options, their approval numbers are down either across the board or in key subsets.
Obama has fallen from a 50-percent approval rating in late January to a 42 percent rating today, according to Gallup. The president had ridden high on his decision to extend the Bush tax cuts in exchange for an end to "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and the wave of lame duck session legislation that followed, but he's taken a nosedive since.
House Speaker John Boehner's overall approval rating has gone up since the year began, but he's down among Republicans: Gallup shows 56 of Republicans now view him favorably, a pretty good number to be sure, but down from 65 percent in January.
Congress's approval rating, which is always low, has dropped from 24 percent in February to 16 percent last week, according to CBS polling. (Gallup figures show it stagnating.)
In general, people are downcast these days. Americans are more pessimistic about the nation's trajectory, and about the economy, than they've been at any point in the Obama era, CBS found last week. An April 9-10 CNN poll showed 36 percent still thinking the economy is in a downturn, vs. 24 percent who think the economy is starting recover -- although those numbers are an improvement since CNN's fall polling.