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U.S. Mood Remains Glum; 18% Satisfied With State of Nation

U.S. Mood Remains Glum; 18% Satisfied With State of Nation

Story Highlights

  • National satisfaction at 18%
  • Economic Confidence Index steady at lower level
  • Government, economy, immigration seen as most important problems

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Eighteen percent of Americans are satisfied with the way things are going in the U.S., staying below 20% as it has since March. Americans are slightly more satisfied than last summer when gas prices and inflation were soaring.


The latest results are based on a May 1-24 poll, which also found approval of President Joe Biden and Congress at low levels.

The 18% of Americans who are satisfied with the state of the nation today is about half of the 35% historical average. Gallup has measured national satisfaction since 1979. The lowest reading was 7% in October 2008 during the height of the financial crisis. The high point was 71% in February 1999 during the dot-com boom and after the Senate acquitted President Bill Clinton in his impeachment trial.

Currently, 33% of Democrats, 18% of independents and 4% of Republicans are satisfied.

Economic Ratings Steady at Lower Level

Americans’ confidence in the U.S. economy also remains depressed, with Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index essentially unchanged at -43 in May after dropping in April. However, like the national satisfaction measure, it is not as low as last summer, when it fell to -58 in June 2022, the lowest Gallup had recorded since the Great Recession.


The Economic Confidence Index summarizes Americans’ evaluations of the current economy and their perceptions of whether it is getting better or worse. It has a theoretical range of -100 to +100. The historical high rating for economic confidence is +56 in January 2000, while the historical low is -72 measured in October 2008.

Seventeen percent of Americans evaluate economic conditions as either “excellent” or “good,” 36% say they are “only fair,” and 47% describe them as “poor.”

Meanwhile, 20% say the economy is getting better and 76% believe it is getting worse.

Americans’ evaluations of both current economic conditions and their outlook for the economy have been slightly worse in April and May than in prior months.

Government, Economy, Immigration Top Problems

Americans are most likely to name the government (19%), the economy in general terms (13%) and immigration (13%) as the most important problem facing the country. Ten percent name inflation, 6% crime and violence, 5% guns, and 5% the federal budget deficit in response to the open-ended question.

The May poll was conducted as the federal government faced an early June deadline to raise the nation’s debt limit or face possible U.S. default on its loans and as prices remained elevated though increasing at a slower rate than last year. Also in May, pandemic-era restrictions on immigration ended and the nation continued to suffer a string of mass shootings.


The most notable changes from April in perceptions of the most important problem are increases in mentions of immigration (from 8% to 13%) and the federal budget deficit (from 2% to 5%). Most of the increase in concern about immigration comes from Republicans, among whom 25% -- up from 13% in April -- name it as the most important problem.

Immigration now essentially ties the government (at 23%) as the top issue among Republicans. The government is named more often than other issues among independents (17%) and Democrats (19%). Democrats are more likely than other groups to name crime and violence as the most important problem.


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