Americans' Dissatisfaction With Nation Eases, but Still High

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Continuing a two-decade trend, most Americans remain dissatisfied with the way things are going in the U.S. -- 23% say they are satisfied, and 76% are dissatisfied. Forty-eight percent, the largest group, are “very dissatisfied,” but that figure has dropped from the record-high 66% measured in January 2021. Americans’ intense dissatisfaction eased last year, to 51%, and inched down further this year.

Each month, Gallup asks Americans whether they are satisfied or dissatisfied with the way things are going in the U.S. Periodically, including in most January Mood of the Nation polls, Gallup has asked a follow-up question probing the intensity of Americans’ satisfaction or dissatisfaction. The Jan. 2-22 survey finds 5% of U.S. adults are very satisfied, 18% somewhat satisfied, 28% somewhat dissatisfied and 48% very dissatisfied.

In most years since 2007, more people have been very dissatisfied with the state of the nation than either somewhat dissatisfied or satisfied. During this time, the average percentage very dissatisfied has been 46%.

Strong dissatisfaction reached its peak in 2021, at 66%, amid the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot and a then-record number of U.S. coronavirus cases and deaths.

The 23% of Americans who are satisfied today represents an increase from January 2022 (17%) and January 2021 (11%), but it is similar to the 22% Gallup measured in its December poll.

In 2022, satisfaction ranged from a low of 13% in June and July, a time of high gas prices and rising inflation, to a high of 24% in March.

From a broader historical perspective, Americans’ satisfaction remains below the 36% average in all measures since Gallup first asked the question in 1979.

Majorities of all three major political party groups are dissatisfied with the state of the nation, although there is a difference in degree. While a larger proportion of Democrats are “somewhat” (36%) rather than “very” (28%) dissatisfied, the largest shares of independents (46%) and Republicans (75%) are very dissatisfied.

The decline in strong dissatisfaction over the past two years is mainly seen among Democrats, though fewer independents have said they were very dissatisfied in each of the past two years.

Meanwhile, the percentage of Republicans who are very dissatisfied has ticked up since 2021, likely because of the change from a Republican to a Democratic presidential administration that occurred after the 2021 survey was conducted.

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Jan. 2-22, 2023, with a random sample of 1,011 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.

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

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