Monday, December 20, 2010
17% of Americans Satisfied (Gallup)
by Jeffrey Jones
Complete report with charts
PRINCETON, NJ -- Seventeen percent of Americans say they are satisfied with the way things are going in the United States at this time, the low point in a year when satisfaction levels generally have been in the 20% range.
The current 17% satisfaction rating is low from a historical perspective, but still exceeds the all-time low, 7% in an October 2008 poll. Gallup first asked this trend question in 1979.
More generally, satisfaction averaged 22% this year, lower than all but three yearly averages -- 2008 (15%), 1979 (19%), and 1992 (21%). The historical average across all years is 40%, and the yearly averages have been below that mark since 2006.
The United States' continuing economic struggles are likely the reason behind the low satisfaction levels. Gallup's "most important problem" question confirms this, as 30% of Americans say the economy in general is the top problem and 24% say unemployment or jobs specifically, easily the top two issues mentioned. Thirteen percent mention dissatisfaction with the government, 10% the federal budget deficit, and 8% healthcare.
Americans end the year in a rather sour mood, with only 17% satisfied with the way things are going in the United States. Satisfaction has been below the historical average in each of the last five years, and has recovered only modestly from the record lows of 2008. Satisfaction levels will probably not show sustained improvement until the economy turns around, as the economy typically weighs heavily in Americans' assessments of whether they are satisfied or dissatisfied with conditions in the United States.