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U.S. Satisfaction Down to 21%

PRINCETON, NJ -- Twenty-one percent of Americans are satisfied with the way things are going in the U.S., down from 27% in February, and the lowest such reading since June 2012.

Percentage Satisfied With Direction of the U.S. -- Trend Since January 2009

These data are from a Gallup survey conducted March 7-10. The current satisfaction level is not only lower than the 25% and 27% measured in January and February of this year, but is also below the 26% average for all of 2012. Only two months' readings in 2012 -- January's 18% and June's 20% -- were lower than the current 21%. The all-time high satisfaction reading was 71% in February 1999, and the all-time low was 7% recorded in October 2008.

Democrats continue to be significantly more satisfied than either independents or Republicans, although Democrats' satisfaction is down to 34%, from 47% last month. Independents' satisfaction is down by seven percentage points, while Republicans' is essentially the same as last month.

U.S. Satisfaction, by Party ID -- Trend Since January 2009


Satisfaction with the way things are going has retreated from the higher readings measured in the fall of 2012 and in the first two months of this year. The March update is the first since the sequestration went into effect on March 1, although it is difficult to pinpoint exact reasons for this month's decline.

Despite the monthly ups and downs, a big-picture perspective shows that Americans' satisfaction with the way things are going in their country has remained low for years now. The last time more than half of Americans were satisfied with the way things were going in the country was in January 2004.

There are other negative signals from Gallup trend measures of America's mood. President Obama's job approval rating has been trending downward from the higher levels reached from October through last month. Congressional job approval is also down in March, and near its all-time low. And, although up last week, economic confidence has been somewhat lower on average in March than it was in February.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted March 7-10, 2013, with a random sample of 1,022 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points.

Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones and cellular phones, with interviews conducted in Spanish for respondents who are primarily Spanish-speaking. Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 50% cellphone respondents and 50% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by region. Landline telephone numbers are chosen at random among listed telephone numbers. Cellphones numbers are selected using random digit dial methods. Landline respondents are chosen at random within each household on the basis of which member had the most recent birthday.

Samples are weighted to correct for unequal selection probability, nonresponse, and double coverage of landline and cell users in the two sampling frames. They are also weighted to match the national demographics of gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, population density, and phone status (cellphone only/landline only/both, cellphone mostly, and having an unlisted landline number). Demographic weighting targets are based on the March 2012 Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older U.S. population. Phone status targets are based on the July-December 2011 National Health Interview Survey. Population density targets are based on the 2010 census. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting.

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.

View methodology, full question results, and trend data.

For more details on Gallup's polling methodology, visit

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