American optimism on direction of US plummets

American optimism on direction of US plummets

Americans’ optimism about the direction of the country has plunged nearly 20 percentage points since late April — with President Biden taking a beating over COVID-19, crime and the border, a new poll shows.

The ABC News/Ipsos poll — released Sunday amid the administration’s six-month mark — found that just 45 percent of Americans are optimistic about where the country is heading over the next year, down from the 64 percent this past spring. 

Conversely, 55 percent of respondents in the new poll say they are pessimistic about the direction of the country, an increase from the 36 percent who said the same thing in the previous survey.

The drop in optimism was across all political persuasions: down about 20 percentage points among Democrats and Republicans and 26 percentage points among independents.

Meanwhile, 63 percent of those polled approved specifically of Biden’s response to the coronavirus — but that’s still a 9-percentage-point drop, the survey found.

Two women wearing face masks as they walk through Midtown Manhattan.
The drop in optimism was across all political leanings.
Christopher Sadowski

The decrease in support comes as the vaccination rate across the country is lagging and the highly infectious delta variant is now accounting for about 83 percent of all new coronavirus cases, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The poll found that 20 percent of the public is still “very concerned” and 42 percent “somewhat concerned” that they or someone they know will become ill from the virus. 

About four in 10 are not concerned. 

A nurse administers a COVID-19 vaccination shot.
The decrease in support comes as the vaccination rate across the country is lagging and the emergence of the highly infectious delta variant.

On issues such as immigration, gun violence and crime, the numbers that the president racked up weren’t impressive, either.

Only about 37 percent of Americans approve of his response to the border crisis. Another 39 percent of respondents were OK with his handling of crime, and 37 percent approved of how he has reacted to gun violence. 

Broken down along political lines, in terms of Biden’s handling of immigration, 63 percent of Democrats approve, 7 percent of Republicans and 35 percent of independents. 

President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event.
Americans surveyed expressed dissatisfaction with President Biden’s handling of immigration and the surge in violent crime.
Oliver Contreras/UPI

On the high levels of crime that have been rocking America’s largest cities, only 11 percent of Republicans approve of Biden’s response to the problem, while 65 percent of Democrats and 39 percent of independents give him the nod, the poll shows. 

The numbers are similar for gun violence, with 64 percent of Democrats approving of how he’s handling the issue, 11 percent of Republicans and 34 percent of independents. 

The poll surveyed 527 adults between July 23 and July 24. It has a plus/minus of 5 percentage points for its margin of error.

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