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Snapshot: GOP Drives Satisfaction With Governance to 38%

Snapshot: GOP Drives Satisfaction With Governance to 38%

Story Highlights

  • 38% of Americans are satisfied with the way the U.S. is being governed
  • Republican satisfaction up 25 points in one year, 60 points in two years

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- While U.S. adults remain largely dissatisfied with the way the nation is being governed, their satisfaction is up 10 percentage points since last year, to 38%. This increase is exclusively attributable to further heightened positivity among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, whose satisfaction rose from 47% last year to 72% now. At the same time, Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents' satisfaction is static at 10%.

Satisfaction With the Way the Country Is Being Governed
On the whole, would you say you are satisfied or dissatisfied with the way the nation is being governed?
September 2017 September 2018
% %
All adults 28 38
Republicans/Republican leaners 47 72
Democrats/Democratic leaners 10 10
% Satisfied

The latest findings are based on Gallup's Sept. 4-12 Governance poll, which has asked this question annually since 2001.

Background: Americans' 38% level of satisfaction with the way the U.S. is being governed is on par with the 37% historical average since 2001. The September readings have been as low as 19% in 2011 after the U.S. credit rating was downgraded in response to a deal to raise the federal debt limit.

As would be expected, partisans' satisfaction with national governance is directly linked to the president's party, as it has been for the past 18 years. Two months before Donald Trump won the election in 2016 and Democrat Barack Obama was still president, 55% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents vs. 12% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents said they were satisfied with the way the U.S. was being governed.

By contrast, in each year of Trump's presidency, Democrats' satisfaction has been 10%, while Republicans' satisfaction jumped 35 points in 2017 to 47%, and rose another 25 points in the past year to 72%. While it is unclear why Republicans' satisfaction increased gradually, it could be a result of Trump successfully enacting key parts of his agenda.

Line graph. Governance satisfaction among all adults, Republicans and Democrats, since 2001.

The current 72% Republican satisfaction rating is the highest for the party since 2005 when George W. Bush was president. It is, however, still shy of the party's 82% all-time high in 2003 during Bush's first term.

The Democrats' recent 10% readings are the historical low numerically, but similar to an 11% reading in Bush's last few months in office. Democrats' highest satisfaction with the nation's governance, 69% in 2009 after Obama took office and when Democrats controlled both houses of Congress, falls well below Republicans' highest satisfaction rating.

View complete question responses and trends.

Learn more about how the Gallup Poll Social Series works.

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