The Margin: Republican satisfaction with the state of America has plummeted

While overall American satisfaction with the state of the union has dropped since the coronavirus outbreak this spring, Republicans have become especially dissatisfied in recent months.

That’s according to a new Gallup poll of more than 1,000 U.S. adults conducted between July 1-23, which was given as the country faced a summertime spike in coronavirus infections, consumer confidence waned while the economy struggled to rebound from said-pandemic and the nation continued to be rocked by protests against racial injustice.

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Just 13% of U.S. adults are satisfied with the way things are in the nation right now, which is down 32 percentage points since hitting a 15-year high just this past February. Gallup notes that American satisfaction has not been this low since November 2011, after the country’s credit rating was downgraded. And that 13% is just six points above the all-time Great Recession low in October 2008, when the global financial crisis saw U.S. stocks tank.

But the steepest drop in satisfaction last month was recorded among Republicans. One in five (20%) said that they are satisfied with the way things are going, which is about half of what it was a month ago (39%) — and down a whopping 60 percentage points since February, when the Senate acquitted President Trump and ended his impeachment trial. In fact, the current figure is the lowest satisfaction rate that Republicans have recorded during Trump’s presidency.

Yet, most Republicans (91%, to be exact) still approve of the job that Trump is doing as president, which implies that they don’t blame him for the state of affairs.

“Their dissatisfaction may have more to do with what is going on in the country — the coronavirus and its effect on economic activity, the focus on matters of race — than the administration’s handling of it,” the report states. “To some degree, it could also reflect Republicans’ awareness of pre-election polls showing Trump trailing Democrat Joe Biden by a significant margin.”

Independents are also significantly less satisfied of late, dropping to 12% from 38% in February. Democrats are the least satisfied overall, with just 7% expressing a more upbeat mood last month, but the report notes that this number is on par with how Dems have felt during the Trump years. Indeed, just 13% of them were satisfied in February, before the pandemic disrupted life in the U.S.

Gallup has observed that historically, American’s lowest satisfaction scores tend to be tied to tough economic times, including: the 1979 energy crisis, the Great Recession of 2008, as well as when the S&P downgraded the U.S. credit rating in 2011.

The report warns that the low satisfaction ratings could spell trouble for Trump in November, as the current level of satisfaction is below the low-water mark (33%) at which an incumbent has won reelection in the past. Indeed, satisfaction was at 22% in 1992 when George H.W. Bush lost his reelection bid — nine percentage points higher than it is now.

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