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17% Say U.S. Heading in Right Direction

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The number of U.S. voters who feel the country is heading in the right direction remains below 20% for the third straight week.
 Just 17% of Likely U.S. Voters say the country is heading in the right direction, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey for the week ending October 20. That is up slightly from 13% the week before, the lowest finding in five years.

Confidence in the country's direction fell 15 points during the near-three-week-long partial federal government shutdown and is still well below its high of 43% the week before Election Day last fall. 

After President Obama assumed office in January 2009, the number of voters who felt the country was heading in the right direction rose to 40% in early May of that year. In 2010 and 2011, confidence fell to the narrow range of 14% to 19%, levels similar to those measured in the final months of the George W. Bush administration. Optimism began easing up again in mid-December 2011.

Seventy-five percent (75%) of voters now think the country is heading down the wrong track, down from a recent high of 80% a week ago. From January 2009 until October 2012, belief that the country was on the wrong track ranged from 55% to 80%, but it tracked in the low 50s from just before Election Day until early December.

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The national telephone survey of 3,500 Likely Voters was conducted by Rasmussen Reports on October 13-October 20, 2013. The margin of sampling error for the survey is +/- 2 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Fieldwork for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Ninety-one percent (91%) of Republicans say the country is on the wrong track, unchanged for the past three weeks. Eighty percent (80%) of unaffiliated voters agree, down five points from a week ago. More than half of Democrats (58%) also share that view, up significantly from 41% two weeks ago.

Black voters are evenly divided on the question, but the number who thinks the country is heading in the right direction jumped from 27% last week to 44% now.  Eighty-one percent (81%) of whites and 69% of other minority voters believe the country is headed down the wrong track. 

Voters under 40 are now only slightly less pessimistic than their elders. 

Ninety-five percent (95%) of Tea Party voters think the country is on the wrong track, compared to 71% of those not affiliated with the grass roots movement.

Eighty-three percent (83%) of Mainstream voters say the country is on the wrong track, a view now shared by just 40% of the Political Class

Republicans appear to be the losers in the immediate aftermath of the government shutdown. For the second week in a row, Democrats have a seven-point lead on the Generic Congressional Ballot.  Support for Republicans has fallen to its lowest level since last December. 

Ninety-six percent (96%) of voters who favor the Republican on the generic ballot think the country is heading in the wrong direction, compared to 55% of those who prefer the Democrat. 

The shutdown was ended with a short-term deal to fund the federal government at existing levels through January 15. Fifty-four percent (54%) of voters want a long-term budget deal that cuts federal spending, but 64% think another shutdown is likely because Congress can’t reach such a deal. 

Fifty-one percent (51%) say the government shutdown had some personal impact on them, but that includes only 11% who say it was a major impact.

Only 36% of voters think the U.S. and its allies are winning the ongoing war on terror, the lowest level of confidence since early 2011. 

Fifty-two percent (52%) now say the country’s best days are in the past, a near two-year high.

The Rasmussen Consumer Index, which measures daily confidence, is at its lowest levels in a year. 

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