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17% Say U.S. Heading in Right Direction

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

With no end in sight to the partial government shutdown, the number of voters who believe the country is heading in the right direction has fallen 11 points over the past week to its lowest level in nearly two years.

Just 17% of Likely U.S. Voters now say the country is heading in the right direction, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey for the week ending October 6. That's down from 28% the week before and the lowest finding since early December 2011.

Confidence in the country's direction rose steadily last fall, peaking at a high of 43% the week before Election Day. It fell steadily after that to the previous low for the year to date of 26% in mid- to late July.

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-six percent (76%) of voters think the country is heading down the wrong track, up 13 points from last week and the highest level of pessimism since November 2011. 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 September 30-October 6, 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.

Republicans (91%) and voters not affiliated with either major party (79%) believe even more strongly that the country is on the wrong track, but now 61% of Democrats share that view. That's a major shift from a week ago when just 41% of voters in the president's party felt that way.

Just one-in-four (24%) black voters now think the country is heading in the right direction, down from 49% a week ago.

Two-thirds (67%) of voters under 40 now think the nation is on the wrong track. But that compares to roughly 80% of their elders.

Mainstream voters are nearly twice as likely as the Political Class to think the country is on the wrong track.

Rasmussen Reports' latest numbers suggest why the shutdown is continuing: 82% of Democrats want to end the shutdown by continuing spending for the new health care law at current levels, but 71% of GOP voters would rather keep the shutdown going until the law is defunded.

Forty-five percent (45%) of all voters have at least a somewhat favorable opinion of the health care law, while 49% view it unfavorably.

Americans are more fearful of another economic meltdown these days, and belief that the U.S. government will default on its debt has jumped from six months ago.

Just 41% think the U.S. economy now is even somewhat fair.

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