PRINCETON, NJ -- Americans' reported satisfaction with the way things are going in the country remains decidedly negative, but has slowly and steadily improved in recent weeks. In March 30-April 5 Gallup Daily polling, 26% of Americans were satisfied, up from 15% in mid-February.
Gallup asks Americans whether they are satisfied or dissatisfied with the way things are going each day as part of Gallup Poll Daily tracking.
As of now, satisfaction is double what it was in Gallup's last Bush-era measurement, 13% in late December 2008 and early January 2009. After Barack Obama took office, satisfaction improved slightly, to 17% in the first week of his presidency, before dipping to 15% in mid-February, about the time the stimulus bill was passed.
In six of the seven weeks since, there has been at least a marginal increase in satisfaction from the prior week.
The rebound in satisfaction has mainly been the result of greater optimism among Democrats. Now, 40% are satisfied, up from 21% in mid-February. There has been a smaller increase among independents over this time, from 14% to 23%. Even Republicans' reported satisfaction has improved, though it is still quite low at 13%, after bottoming out at 7% in mid-February.
Gallup has asked this version of the satisfaction question in polling since 1979. The 26% of Americans now satisfied is higher than in any Gallup measurement in 2008, which included the historical low reading of 7% in October.
The last time Gallup found satisfaction running significantly higher than the current figure was April 2007, when 33% reported being satisfied.
Americans are still generally discouraged about the state of the country, but there are signs of optimism. In addition to the recent rise in satisfaction, Gallup has noted a steady increase in the percentage of Americans who say the economy is getting better. Most of the increase in satisfaction is the result of increased positivity among Democrats, who have greater confidence in the approach the new administration is taking to address the economy and other major problems facing the country.
Results are based on telephone interviews with 3,559 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted March 30-April 5, 2009, as part of Gallup Poll Daily tracking. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±2 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.