skip to main content

Americans’ Satisfaction Plateaus Over the Past Month

by Lymari Morales

One-third are satisfied, on par with a month ago

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Americans' satisfaction with the way things are going in the country has ebbed and flowed slightly over the past month, only to return to month-ago levels. Gallup Poll Daily tracking from June 6-8 finds 33% of Americans satisfied and 64% dissatisfied -- roughly the same as the 35% satisfied and 62% dissatisfied in surveys conducted May 6-8 -- but much improved from the start of the year.


Though Americans' satisfaction is still more than double what it was when President Obama took office, it is noteworthy that satisfaction has leveled off over the past month, rather than continuing the trend of positive improvement recorded from March through early May. It remains low on an absolute basis. The all-time high on this measure in Gallup's 30-year history of asking the question is 71% in February 1999 and the all-time low is 7% last October.

The past month has no doubt seen a mixed bag of news, including President Obama's trip to the Middle East and Europe, a jump in the U.S. unemployment rate to 9.4%, the government-backed bankruptcies of General Motors and Chrysler, Obama's nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court, Obama's commencement speech at the University of Notre Dame, and the murder of abortion doctor George Tiller.

Throughout all of this action, Republicans, independents, and Democrats showed measurable swings in their satisfaction levels, but Gallup now finds satisfaction almost identical to one month ago among each of these three groups. About half of Democrats (48%) are satisfied, as are 31% of independents and 15% of Republicans.


Bottom Line

The initial, steady improvement in Americans' satisfaction recorded from January to May has more recently been replaced with fluctuation in the same range as recorded a month ago. One-third of Americans (33%) are satisfied with how things are going in the country, including 48% of Democrats but just 15% of Republicans. The leveling off seen over the past month suggests Americans may be moving beyond their initial positive reactions to the new administration and now more objectively assessing life in the "new normal" -- which, simply stated, finds a new president juggling a whole host of issues, including a still-struggling economy and an uncertain world scene. Whatever the causes, Gallup Poll Daily tracking finds the American public's mood -- at least temporarily -- at a plateau at which only about one-third appear willing to say they are satisfied with the way things are going in the U.S.

Gallup tracks Americans' satisfaction daily and posts updated data each day at 1 p.m. Eastern.

Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone interviews conducted since Jan. 21, 2009, with rolling three-day averages of approximately 1,500 national adults, aged 18 and older, as part of Gallup Poll Daily tracking. For results based on these total samples of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points.

Interviews are conducted with respondents on land-line telephones (for respondents with a land-line telephone) and cellular phones (for respondents who are cell-phone only).

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.


Gallup World Headquarters, 901 F Street, Washington, D.C., 20001, U.S.A
+1 202.715.3030