Americans’ satisfaction with the way things are going in the U.S. has fallen to 21%, the lowest point since July 2016. Dissatisfaction with the government remains at the top of the list of most important problems in the country.
Research firm Gallup has been tracking the nation’s mood since 1979, and the latest results released Thursday are from an Oct. 5-11 poll.
While readings on this measure have fluctuated throughout the years, Gallup says Americans have been dissatisfied with the direction of the country for over 13 years, with less than a majority of U.S. adults saying they are satisfied since January 2004.
The current 21% satisfaction / 75% dissatisfaction readings are bleak, yet they are far from the worst to date, Gallup said.
Those were recorded in October 2008, when satisfaction dropped to 7% and dissatisfaction was nearly unanimous at 91% following Congress’ authorization of the Troubled Asset Relief Program to deal with the financial crisis. The highest satisfaction reading, 71%, was recorded in February 1999 during the dot-com boom.
Past polling has shown a sizable partisan split on this question. Currently, 38% of Republicans, 11% of Democrats and 20% of independents are satisfied with the direction of the country.
Republicans’ satisfaction — which showed the expected spike after Republican President Donald Trump took office — has fallen from 55% in February, with most of the decline occurring by June.
According to the poll, Americans continue to cite dissatisfaction with the government above all other issues as the United States’ top problem.
Government — representing a wide array of complaints about the federal government — has been at or near the top of the list for the past nine years. Unification of the country, which goes along with government dissatisfaction, has edged up recently, and the percentage of Americans citing race relations has doubled since August.
As the immigration debate has faded from the news in recent weeks, so too has the issue from the list of top problems; healthcare is also down significantly since the summer. Gun control has edged up since the mass shooting in Las Vegas on Oct. 1, yet not as much as it has in the past following other mass shootings.
Gallup suggests that the national mood has been persistently gloomy for more than a decade, and it has worsened in recent months. The public is frustrated with the government and its leaders, as well as generally dissatisfied with the direction of the country.
After Trump’s election, Republicans’ increased optimism boosted the overall national mood. However, that is no longer the case, as their satisfaction has diminished over the course of 2017 — and they too are now broadly dissatisfied with the way things are going in the U.S.
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