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Majority in new poll worried and pessimistic about nation's future

Majority in new poll worried and pessimistic about nation's future
© Greg Nash

A majority of American voters in an NBC News poll released one day before President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenCornyn, Sinema to introduce bill aimed at addressing border surge Harris to travel to Northern Triangle region in June Biden expected to formally recognize Armenian Genocide: report MORE's inauguration said they are pessimistic and worried about the U.S.

Fifty-three percent shared the sentiment, while 44 percent said they are optimistic.

NBC noted that this is the first time a majority has described itself as pessimistic since 1988, when pollsters first asked the question.

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According to the poll released Tuesday, 73 percent of respondents said they believe the nation is on the wrong track and expect the country to remain divided over the next four years. Just more than 1 in 5 — 21 percent — said they believe it is headed in the right direction.

Seventy-three percent also said they expect the country to remain divided through Biden’s first four years, with only 24 percent predicting increased unity in the years ahead.

Survey respondents gave Biden’s team high marks for their handling of the transition, with 60 percent approving versus 32 percent disapproving. By comparison, 44 percent of respondents said President TrumpDonald TrumpUS gives examples of possible sanctions relief to Iran GOP lawmaker demands review over FBI saying baseball shooting was 'suicide by cop' House passes bill aimed at stopping future Trump travel ban MORE was handling the transition well during the same period ahead of his inauguration in 2016, while 71 percent said the same of President Obama.

A majority of respondents in the new survey, 55 percent, said they expect Biden to perform the duties of the president in a manner more typical of previous presidents. Only 37 percent, however, expressed confidence in his goals and policies, compared to 43 percent who said the same about his personal qualities.

Pollsters surveyed 1,000 registered voters between Jan. 10-13. The poll has a 3.1-percentage-point margin of error.