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Americans Remain Largely Dissatisfied With Direction of U.S.

Americans Remain Largely Dissatisfied With Direction of U.S.

Story Highlights

  • 24% in U.S. satisfied with direction of the country
  • Democrats' satisfaction is up 11 points since February, to 46%
  • Satisfaction steady among Republicans (3%) and independents (23%)

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- About one-quarter of Americans, 24%, say they are satisfied with the way things are currently going in the U.S., which is statistically similar to February's 21% and roughly in line with most readings since last August. The exception to this was 17% in January during a surge in COVID-19 cases attributed to the omicron variant.

Line graph. Americans' satisfaction with the way things are going in the U.S. from 1979 to March 2022. Currently, 24% of U.S. adults say they are satisfied with the way things are going in the U.S. This is up seven percentage points since January but in line with readings in February and in the last five months of 2021 and well below the record-high 71% in 1999.

The latest reading is from a March 1-18 Gallup poll, which also found President Joe Biden's approval rating mired in the low 40s and economic concerns rising amid record-high gas prices and the highest inflation in four decades. During the poll's field period, COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths in the U.S. continued to decline.

U.S. satisfaction, which Gallup has tracked since 1979, has been as high as 71% in 1999 during the dot-com boom and as low as 7% in 2008 during the financial crisis.

Although national satisfaction is now more than double the 11% reading measured shortly after protesters violently stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, it is significantly lower than the 30% to 36% readings of last March through July.

Satisfaction Up Among Democrats; Flat for Republicans and Independents

Democrats' satisfaction with the direction of the nation -- which has outpaced Republicans' and independents' since Biden's inauguration -- is up 11 points since February, to 46%, perhaps reflecting the improving coronavirus situation. At the same time, satisfaction among Republicans (3%) and independents (23%) is essentially unchanged and much lower.

Democrats' national satisfaction was last at the current level in fall 2021. It has not been at the majority level since last June, likely related to the improved coronavirus situation at that time. Independents' satisfaction has been less variable than Democrats' but has ranged from 15% to 32% during Biden's presidency. Republicans' satisfaction with the direction of the U.S. has averaged 6% since Donald Trump left office. GOP satisfaction registered 60% in October 2020 before Trump was defeated for reelection and was above 70% before the pandemic.

Line graph. Partisans' satisfaction with the way things are going in the U.S. from January 2020 to March 2022. Currently, satisfaction is 46% among Democrats, 23% for independents and 3% for Republicans. Republicans' satisfaction outpaced Democrats' during Donald Trump's presidency, but once Joe Biden took office, Democrats became more satisfied than Republicans. Democrats' satisfaction has risen 16 points since January, when it was the lowest of Biden's presidency.

Bottom Line

Three-quarters of Americans, including majorities of all party groups, are dissatisfied with the nation's direction. Even though COVID-19 cases are waning in the U.S., economic concerns are mounting and are likely to continue to suppress national satisfaction until inflation begins to ease.

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