Seven in 10 Voters Say US Is Going in the Wrong Direction

Thousands of demonstrators gathered peacefully outside the White House Tuesday on the fifth day of consecutive protests. (Courthouse News photo/Megan Mineiro)

(CN) — As the United States charts a course through one of the most turbulent periods in recent memory, a poll released Wednesday finds most voters believe the nation is heading in the wrong direction.

The Politico/Morning Consult poll, conducted over a weekend dominated by widespread and protracted protests over the death of George Floyd at the hands of a white Minneapolis police officer, reveals that 69% of voters believe the United States is going down the wrong path.

While 31% believe the nation is traveling well, that is the lowest level since President Donald Trump took office in 2017.

Wednesday’s poll comes at a time when the nation finds itself in an unprecedented time of uncertainty and chaos. The country continues to reel from a massive global pandemic that has killed nearly 107,000 in the United States alone, the national economy is crippled by unemployment due to statewide shutdowns, and civil unrest stretches from coast to coast over the unfair treatment of black communities at the hands of police.

Tyler Sinclair, vice president of Morning Consult, makes note of the timing between the new American reality and an increased belief that the county is headed down the wrong path.

“As 2020 headlines continue to be dominated by crises, the fewest voters we’ve tracked in nearly four years believe the country is going in the right direction,” Sinclair said.

Despite these historical challenges, Wednesday’s numbers show that party politics continues to play a significant role in how a voter feels on the direction of the county. With the leader of their party bracing for what is likely to be a complex re-election bid, the poll finds Republicans are the most satisfied with the direction of the county. Nearly two-thirds of GOP voters say the country is currently moving on the right track — virtually the same number of overall voters who believe the U.S. is on the wrong track.

Democrats, hoping to put former Vice President Joe Biden in the White House in November, are much less enthusiastic. Just 9% report feeling satisfied with the current direction of the county.

Independents are somewhat more optimistic than the Democrats, though not nearly to the extent of the Republicans. Nearly a quarter (23%) say they feel like the county is on the right track.

While these numbers are undoubtedly a record low for the nation under the Trump administration, they nonetheless represent only a small drop compared to Politico/Morning Consult’s poll last week. In it, 34% of voters said the nation was moving in the right direction.

The change is more notable, however, when compared to data from the last three months. In late February and early March, when the threat of the coronavirus had begun to materialize in the U.S., a Politico/Morning Consult poll showed that 43% of voters approved of the direction of the county.

This 12-point drop may indicate the outbreak — and the federal response to it — has eroded some voters’ confidence in the trajectory of the country.

Wednesday’s poll is not the only one showing increased voter dissatisfaction. A Monmouth University poll released this week found 74% of voters felt like the county is headed down the wrong track and just 21% felt the country was along the right one. The pollster said voter sentiment hasn’t been as negative since 2013.

While these numbers may be noteworthy, they do not necessarily foretell a disappointing finish for Trump’s re-election bid. Both Barack Obama and Bill Clinton both saw negative polling figures on what voters felt regarding the direction of the county, and both were handily re-elected.

A potentially more trustworthy measurement of an incumbent’s re-election chances is their job performance approval rating — an area in which Trump is currently struggling. According to Wednesday’s poll, just 41% of voters say they think Trump is doing a good job in office while 55% say the opposite — figures that are statistically unchanged from a week ago.

The Politico/Morning Consult poll contained a sample size of 1,981 registered voters and 2% margin of error.

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