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Belief That America's Best Days Lie Ahead Falls to 17-Month Low

The number of voters who think America's best days still lie ahead is now at its lowest level in 17 months.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just one-third (34%) of Likely U.S. Voters now think the country's best days are in the future, the lowest finding since October 2009. Forty-eight percent (48%) say America's best days are behind us, identical to last month and the highest level of pessimism since last July. Eighteen percent (18%) are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Just 22% of voters now think the country is heading in the right direction, the lowest level of confidence found since before President Obama’s inauguration in January 2009.

But 64% continue to believe that American society is generally fair and decent, a finding that has held relatively steady since polling on the question began in 2006. Only 22% think U.S. society is generally unfair and discriminatory, and 14% are not sure.

Many voters also still believe the president doesn't share their view. Just 43% say Obama thinks American society is generally fair and decent, but 41% believe he thinks it is unfair and discriminatory. Sixteen percent (16%) have no opinion of how the president views American society. Belief that the president thinks U.S. society is fair and decent has largely fallen in the low to mid-40s from a high of 49% just before his inauguration.

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.  

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters nationwide was conducted on March 16-17, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

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