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U.S. Satisfaction With Military, Security and Economy Rises

U.S. Satisfaction With Military, Security and Economy Rises

by RJ Reinhart

Story Highlights

  • Americans are more satisfied this year with military strength, security and economy
  • Satisfaction is down with healthcare, role of the U.S. in the world and environment
  • Changes driven by substantial partisan shifts in satisfaction

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Ahead of President Donald Trump's first State of the Union address, Americans are substantially more satisfied with the nation's military strength, security from terrorism and the state of the economy than they were at the end of Barack Obama's presidency in early 2017. Those three issues, along with the position of women in the nation and the acceptance of gays and lesbians, have the highest satisfaction ratings among 21 issues asked about. Americans are least satisfied with the nation's efforts to deal with poverty and homelessness.

Americans' Satisfaction With the State of the Nation
% Satisfied/Very satisfied
2017 2018 Change
% % pct. pts.
The nation's military strength and preparedness 66 78 12
The nation's security from terrorism 50 63 13
The position of women in the nation * 58 -
The state of the nation's economy 46 58 12
The acceptance of gays and lesbians in the nation 59 56 -3
The quality of medical care in the nation 52 50 -2
The quality of the environment in the nation 52 45 -7
The nation's policies to reduce or control crime 38 44 6
The Social Security and Medicare systems 47 43 -4
The nation's energy policies 41 40 -1
The level of immigration into the country today 41 40 -1
The nation's laws or policies on guns 42 39 -3
The position of blacks and other racial minorities in the nation 37 39 2
The role the U.S. plays in world affairs 45 38 -7
The quality of public education in the nation 37 38 1
The nation's policies regarding the abortion issue 39 37 -2
Government regulation of businesses and industries 38 37 -1
The amount Americans pay in federal taxes 39 36 -3
The availability of affordable healthcare 39 31 -8
The state of race relations 22 29 7
The nation's efforts to deal with poverty and homelessness 23 24 1
*Question not asked this year
Gallup

These results, from Gallup's Mood of the Nation survey conducted Jan. 2-7, show that Americans' satisfaction with key national security and economic matters have improved the most from last year. Satisfaction with security from terrorism is up 13 percentage points, and satisfaction with the nation's military strength and the economy is up 12 points for each.

While satisfaction in some areas has climbed, it has dropped in others. There have been declines of seven to eight points over the past year in three areas -- the availability of affordable healthcare (-8), the role the U.S. plays in world affairs (-7) and the quality of the environment in the nation (-7).

Although it ranks near the top of the list this year, satisfaction with the position of women is down substantially from the 72% of Americans who said they were satisfied in 2008, the last time the question was asked. This decline comes as Americans have seen increased attention on allegations of sexual harassment and mistreatment of women.

Perhaps related to the shift from a Democratic to a Republican president, most of the changes in satisfaction reflect the issues perceived as strengths and weaknesses for each party. Americans typically credit Republicans with doing a better job on national security and defense, while they rate Democrats better on handling the environment and healthcare.

Increased satisfaction with the economy is likely related to consistent reports of improved economic indicators over the past year, including employment, GDP growth, consumer spending and the stock market. Decreased satisfaction with the role of the U.S. in world affairs is likely attributable to Americans' poor ratings of Trump's handling of foreign affairs and coincides with record-low approval of the country's leadership across the rest of the world.

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Large Swings in Partisan Satisfaction Since Trump Took Office

Republicans are more satisfied on every issue tested compared with last year, while Democrats are less satisfied on most issues. The relative strength of this movement among the two partisan groups helped determine the overall gains and losses in satisfaction.

Republicans' increases in satisfaction with the country's military strength, security from terrorism and the economy are larger than Democrats' decreases on the same issues, driving the jumps in satisfaction among Americans as a whole. At the same time, large drops in Democrats' satisfaction, paired with smaller increases among Republicans, drive the drops in overall satisfaction with access to affordable healthcare, the role the U.S. plays in world affairs and the quality of the environment.

20180126PartisanIssues@2x

The single biggest partisan swing is seen on the economy. Satisfaction with the economy among Republicans (including independents who lean toward the Republican Party) has risen 57 points between 2017 and 2018, while satisfaction has dropped 14 points among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents.

On other issues, partisan shifts in satisfaction largely cancel each other out, resulting in little or no change in overall satisfaction. For example, there is a substantial partisan swing on the country's energy policies: Republicans' satisfaction with U.S. energy policies is up 23 points, versus a 22-point drop among Democrats.

Democrats' satisfaction on three issues has risen slightly: the Social Security and Medicare systems, the state of race relations, and the nation's security from terrorism.

Although partisans this year differ in their satisfaction on most issues, they are similar on some. There are five-point or smaller gaps in agreement between Republicans and Democrats on satisfaction with the strength of the military (three points), security from terrorism (four points), education (four points) and abortion (four points). A full listing of partisan satisfaction with the 21 issues measured appears at the end of this article.

Implications

These shifts in satisfaction reflect the partisan lenses that increasingly color the way the two groups view the state of the nation. Satisfaction with the economy is a prime example: There are signs suggesting the economy is improving, but Democrats' satisfaction with the U.S. economy has dropped. This suggests their perceptions may be at least partially influenced by political partisanship -- though other concerns such as income inequality may be at play.

Republicans watching Trump's State of the Union speech will likely agree with his positive take on a number of other issues he will address, while Democrats likely will not. These include, in particular, the substantially different partisan takes on the role the U.S. plays in world affairs and on energy and environmental policies.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Jan. 2-7, 2018, with a random sample of 1,024 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, the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 70% cellphone respondents and 30% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.

View survey methodology, complete question responses and trends.

Learn more about how the Gallup Poll Social Series works.

Americans' Satisfaction With the State of the Nation, by Party
% Satisfied/Very satisfied
Republicans/Leaners Democrats/Leaners Difference
% % pct. pts.
The level of immigration into the country today 29 47 18
The Social Security and Medicare systems 46 62 16
The nation's policies regarding the abortion issue 36 40 4
The nation's military strength and preparedness 78 81 3
The nation's security from terrorism 68 64 -4
The quality of public education in the nation 41 37 -4
The acceptance of gays and lesbians in the nation 60 54 -6
The amount Americans pay in federal taxes 40 34 -6
Government regulation of businesses and industries 44 33 -11
The nation's policies to reduce or control crime 51 39 -12
The state of race relations 38 24 -14
The availability of affordable healthcare 43 26 -17
The quality of medical care in the nation 63 41 -22
The nation's efforts to deal with poverty and homelessness 39 14 -25
The nation's energy policies 58 27 -31
The position of women in the nation 78 44 -34
The position of blacks and other racial minorities in the nation 58 24 -34
The quality of the environment in the nation 67 32 -35
The state of the nation's economy 85 49 -36
The role the U.S. plays in world affairs 62 24 -38
The nation's laws or policies on guns 69 21 -48
Gallup, Jan. 2-7

Gallup


Gallup https://news.gallup.com/poll/226376/satisfaction-military-security-economy-rises.aspx
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