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New Poll Finds 70 Percent Believe U.S. is Heading ‘In the Wrong Direction’

According to a new AP-NORC survey, 70 percent of respondents believe the United States is moving in the “wrong direction,” the highest level since September 2017.

The partial government shutdown, which kicked off after President Donald Trump and Congress reached a stalemate over border wall funding, has contributed heavily to these feelings of dissatisfaction:

Twenty-eight percent say things in the country are heading in the right direction, down from 39 percent in December, days before the government shutdown began on December 22, 2018. The 70 percent saying the country is moving in the wrong direction is the highest in an AP-NORC survey since September 2017, when 74 percent of Americans said the country was heading in the wrong direction. That survey was conducted just after a period that included the threat of war with North Korea, complaints about hurricane relief, and following the demonstrations by white supremacists in Charlottesville, NC.

Only 22 percent of the respondents said they “expect things in the country to improve over the next year” compared to 52 percent who said they “expect things to deteriorate.” That’s a 10-point drop from last month’s survey when 32 percent said “they had positive expectations for where the country is headed” compared to 42 percent who said “things were heading downhill.” Both surveys found that a quarter of the respondents expect “things will stay about the same.”

Perceptions of the president’s overall job performance are starkly divided, with 34 percent expressing their approval and 65 percent expressing their disapproval. Although most people said they were “least negative” about Trump’s handling of the economy, they gave him low marks across the board for his handling of climate change.

Even so, the economy remains a deeply polarizing issue for many:

However, Trump’s handling of the economy took the biggest hit. In the wake of the stock market’s dismal performance last quarter, 44 percent approve of his handling of the economy and 55 disapprove.  In October 2018, 50 percent approved and 49 percent disapproved.

Overall, 53 percent describe the economy as good, and 47 percent say it is poor. Eighty percent of Republicans think the economy is good, and 38 percent of Democrats agree. Sixty-three percent of those with incomes over $100,000 describe the economy as good, compared to 49 percent of those with incomes under $50,000.

And looking forward, 27 percent expect the economy to improve during the next year, while 44 percent are anticipating a downturn. Twenty-seven percent expect the economy to remain the same over the year 2019. Of those who expect the economy to stay the same, 56 percent describe the economy as good and 44 percent think it is bad.

Researchers surveyed 1,062 Americans from Jan. 16-20. The poll’s margin of error is 4.1 percentage points.



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