Most Americans are unhappy with economy, government as ‘mood’ poll shows glum US

Most Americans are unhappy with economy, government as 'mood' poll shows glum US

The US is in a bad mood.

Americans’ satisfaction with most aspects of society and government has plummeted over the past couple of years, according to the annual “Mood of the Nation” survey released by Gallup Wednesday.

The poll measures the percentage of Americans who are “very” or “somewhat” happy about eight aspects of life in the US as well as 21 policy areas.

The largest drop from early 2020 — prior to the COVID-19 pandemic — came in Americans’ satisfaction with the economy. Two years ago, 68 percent of Americans said they were “very” or “somewhat” happy.

That figure fell to 43 percent in 2021 and 33 percent this year, as frustration grows over COVID-19 restrictions, closed businesses, and decades-high levels of inflation.

Satisfaction about the military’s strength and preparedness also took a hit, falling from 81 percent in 2020 to 74 percent in 2021 and down to 61 percent in 2022.

Gallup poll.
The poll found that Americans were more dissatisfied in almost every category in 2022 than they were in 2020.

The low marks reflect the dissatisfaction over the Biden administration’s debacle of a withdrawal from Afghanistan, which culminated in the failed evacuation of Americans and their Afghan allies as well as a terror attack that killed 13 US service members and more than 180 Afghans.

The largest single-year drop in satisfaction was over America’s energy policies, with 27 percent saying they were “very” or “somewhat” happy (compared to 42 percent in 2021) as US consumers pay approximately 40 percent more for a gallon of gas on average than at this time last year.  

The survey, conducted between Jan. 3-16, also found fewer than a quarter of Americans (24 percent) were satisfied with efforts to reduce or control crime — down from 47 percent in 2020, as crime and homicide rates in America’s largest cities reach record levels. 

Satisfaction with abortion policies has fallen by nine percentage points to 24 percent over the past year, a decline driven by a restrictive Texas abortion law and the likelihood that the Supreme Court will overturn or scale back its landmark Roe v. Wade ruling.

Anti-abortion activists rally in front of the Supreme Court.
Satisfaction with abortion policies fell from 33 percent in 2021 to 24 percent in 2022.

The survey also found that fewer than half of all Americans were satisfied that the nation is secure from terrorism (47 percent, down from 68 percent in 2020) or happy with the quality of medical care (46 percent, down from 53 percent in 2021).

Satisfaction with the quality of public education stood at 28 percent, down from 35 percent in each of the previous two years.

While 69 percent are still satisfied by the quality of life in the US — the highest level of support in the survey — that still represents a 15 percentage-point slide since 2020.

energy poll
The biggest single-year drop was satisfaction over America’s energy policies.

The outlook of Republicans over the past two years has dropped even more markedly.

Their satisfaction with the nation’s energy policies fell 45 percentage points to 23 percent, confidence in security from terrorism dropped 43 points to 31 percent, happiness with the economy plummeted 38 points to 18 percent and belief in the strength of the military was reduced by 33 points to 49 percent.

The poll found only one area in which Americans are more satisfied now than they were in 2020 — the acceptance of gays and lesbians, satisfaction with which rose to 62 percent in 2022 from 56 percent in 2020. 

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