The question I discussed in my last post was also asked in a 1990 survey by Yankelovich and Time Magazine. In that survey, 32% said that they could do a better job of running the country than "our government officials are currently doing," and 64% said they couldn't.
As in the 2010 survey, men were a lot more confident than women (42% to 25%). One thing I didn't mention in my previous post was party differences. Republicans were more likely than Democrats to say that they could do better, but was that just because it was a Democratic administration, or is it something more general? In 1990, the President was a Republican (George H. W. Bush), so the Democrats were the "outs." The percent saying they could do better, by party:
Democrats Independents Republicans
1990 32% 36% 34%
2010 21% 49% 41%
So there seems to be a general tendency for Republicans to have a lower estimation of "our government officials" than Democrats. But notice that the biggest difference between 1990 and 2010 is among independents. That could mean independents really strongly the Obama administration, or (what I think is more likely) that they strongly dislike political conflict. Disagreements between the parties are more intense now than they were in 1990, and independents may conclude that they're both to blame.