New poll shows plummeting GOP satisfaction with direction of country

David Knowles
·Editor

Thanks to a marked shift among Republican voters since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, just 13 percent of Americans surveyed now say they are satisfied with “the way things are going in the United States.”

A poll by Gallup released Wednesday shows that the percentage of Republicans who say they are “satisfied” with the direction the country is heading has fallen by 60 points since February, when the pandemic began spreading rapidly across the U.S.

“The plunge in the U.S. mood, both in the past month and since February, is mostly occurring among Republicans. Republicans’ satisfaction today (20%) is about half what it was a month ago (39%) and down 60 points since February, after the Senate acquitted President Donald Trump in his impeachment trial. The current figure is easily the lowest for Republicans during the Trump administration, with their prior low being 38% in October 2017,” Gallup said on its website.

Just 7 percent of Democrats say they are satisfied with how things are going in the country, while 12 percent of independents agree with that assessment.

The pollster also cited the protests in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police and the economic downturn caused by the pandemic as influencing the steep drop concerning satisfaction.

While it may be tempting to conclude from the poll that President Trump has failed to make good on his 2016 campaign promise to “make America great again” to his own supporters, Gallup notes that the president’s support from Republicans remains at 91 percent.

Thirteen percent satisfaction is also not the lowest number recorded by the pollster. That distinction occurred during the 2008 financial sector crash in the final days of George W. Bush’s presidency, when just 7 percent of Americans surveyed said they were satisfied with where the country was heading. The same week that Gallup recorded that figure, however, 57 percent of Republicans said they still approved of the job Bush was doing.

The problem for Trump, however, is that despite today’s hyperpartisan political environment, Americans have been moving away from the Republican Party. Since January, when the GOP enjoyed a 2-percentage-point lead over Democrats in terms of party self-identification, Americans have shifted, giving Democrats an 11-point edge by the end of June, according to another Gallup poll.

“Although the public does not have to be highly satisfied for incumbents to be reelected, the current level of satisfaction sits well below the low-water mark (33%) at which an incumbent has won reelection in the past,” Gallup said on its website.

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