Gallup: Only 17 Percent of Americans Approve of Country’s Direction

Gallup: Only 17 Percent of Americans Approve of Country's Direction Gallup: Only 17 Percent of Americans Approve of Country's Direction U.S. President Joe Biden listens as Vice president Kamala Harris (L) speaks during an event at the White House with members of the National Governors Association on January 31, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Win McNamee/Getty)

By Peter Malbin | Monday, 31 January 2022 02:30 PM

Just 17% of Americans approve of the direction the country is going in, the lowest rating in President Joe Biden's first year in office, according to a new Gallup poll.

The poll's release coincides with expectation that inflation, already at 7%, will rise. Biden's approval numbers continue to dip – a Gallup poll in mid-January showed that 40% of U.S. adults approve of the job he is doing, his lowest to date. Congressional job approval is also at a low of 18%.

At the same time, Americans' satisfaction with their own lives has ticked up to 85%, just five percentage points shy of the 2020 record-high point.

Personal satisfaction has been consistently and significantly higher than national satisfaction since 1979, when Gallup first tracked these two measures. But that divergence is near the record high as today's 68-percentage-point gap between the two, from the Jan. 3-16 Mood of the Nation poll, is second only to last year's 71-point gulf, Gallup observes.

Two years ago, before the COVID-19 pandemic, a record-high 65% of U.S. adults said they were "very satisfied" with their own lives, according to Gallup. Last year, the personal-satisfaction rating fell to 51%, and it remains at that level today. Another 34% are currently somewhat satisfied.

Life-satisfaction levels vary according to education level, annual household income, and religious-service attendance, according to Gallup, with people who attend church regularly, reporting a higher income and those that are more educated reporting being more personally satisfied with their lives.

When it comes to party affiliation and satisfaction, it depends which party is in power. Most recently, Republicans' personal satisfaction outpaced Democrats' during former President Donald Trump's presidency, but once Joe Biden took office, Democrats became more satisfied than Republicans with the nation's direction.

Results for the latest Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Jan. 3-16, 2022, with a random sample of 811 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 75% cellphone respondents and 25% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.

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