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Americans sour on key aspects of state of the nation: Gallup

FILE – “In God We Trust” is engraved in stone above a U.S. flag in the House of Representatives chamber at the Capitol in Washington on Tuesday, March 1, 2022. Even though nearly three in 10 Americans claim no religious affiliation — a rate that has steadily risen in recent years — only two of the 534 incoming members of Congress will admit to as much. (Sarahbeth Maney/The New York Times via AP, Pool)

Americans’ views on key aspects of the state of the country as 2023 gets underway remain in the same area as during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new poll. 

The Gallup poll released Thursday showed that 65 percent of respondents said they were very or somewhat satisfied with the quality of life in the country, while 61 percent said they were satisfied with the opportunity for a person to get ahead by working hard. 

While those numbers are above water, they are notably lower than the record 89 percent who were satisfied with the quality of life from 2001 to 2002 and the record 77 percent who were satisfied with opportunity in 2002. And they’re the only two questions of the eight that Gallup surveyed for its Mood of the Nation poll where a majority said they were satisfied. 

The average rating of people’s satisfaction across the categories was 41 percent, which is the same as it was in 2022 and close to the record low of 39 percent recorded in 2021. 

The results come as President Biden is set to deliver his second State of the Union address on Tuesday, about a month after the third year of his presidency began. 

The poll found people are least satisfied with the moral and ethical climate, with only 20 percent saying they are satisfied, and the way income and wealth are distributed in the country, with only 24 percent saying they are satisfied. 

The percent satisfied with income and wealth distribution saw the biggest drop of any category from last year, falling 6 points from 30 percent. 

Close to a majority, 48 percent, said they were very or somewhat satisfied with the influence of organized religion, the same as last year. 

Average satisfaction reached 53 percent in 2020 just before the impacts of the pandemic started being felt in the United States. This was the highest average in the poll since 2008. The average consistently stayed above 50 percent before then. 

The poll also showed a majority of Americans are very or somewhat satisfied with only four out of 22 policy or life areas polled. The four areas are the country’s military strength and preparedness, the position of women in the country, the acceptance of gay and lesbian people in the country and the country’s security from terrorism. 

But the percentage of people satisfied with the acceptance of gay and lesbian people dropped 7 points from last year. 

Respondents were least satisfied with the nation’s campaign finance laws, the country’s efforts to deal with poverty and homelessness and the state of the economy. 

The poll also found significant differences in satisfaction based on party on a few key issues. 

A 60 percent majority of Republicans were satisfied with the influence of organized religion, but only a third of Democrats were. Just more than half of Democrats were satisfied with the size and power of the federal government, but only 14 percent of Republicans were. 

The poll was conducted from Jan. 2 to 22 among 1,011 adults. The margin of error was 4 points.

Tags Biden Gallup income inequality opportunity to get ahead quality of life state of the economy state of the nation State of the Union wealth distribution

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