Surprising New Wall Street Journal/NBC News Poll

Thursday, August 7th, 2014 @ 11:32PM

Gary D. Halbert

Between the Lines

In my E-Letter on Tuesday, I cited a recent RealClearPolitics poll average on the question of whether the country is headed in the “right direction” or is on the “wrong track.” That poll average found that only 26.0% of respondents believe the country is headed in the right direction, while 64.3% said the country is on the wrong track.

Well, a new poll released last night from The Wall Street Journal/NBC News says that things are even worse than I reported on Tuesday – and in even more ways than one! I will summarize the poll results below. The poll was conducted July 30-August 3 with 1,000 respondents.

This latest WSJ/NBC poll was brutal for politicians: President Obama’s job approval rating sank to a new low; and approval for the job Congress is doing was only 14%. Details on the latest job approval ratings are near the end of today’s post.

On the question of “right direction/wrong track,” the WSJ/NBC poll found that only 22% of respondents said the country is headed in the ‘right direction,’ while a whopping 71% said it is on the ‘wrong track.’ Only 7% weren’t sure.

On the “state of the US economy,” only 35% said they were ‘very or somewhat satisfied,’ while 64% said they were ‘very or somewhat dissatisfied.’


On the question of the economy still being in a recession, 46% said ‘no,’ while 49% said “yes.”

On the question of “Do you think America is in a state of decline,” some 38% said ‘no,’ while 60% said ‘yes,’ that America is ‘in a state of decline.’

On the question of the immigration crisis on the border and how the government is handling it, only 11% were ‘satisfied,’ while 64% were ‘dissatisfied.’ Of the latter, most felt the government is not involved enough in the crisis.

On the question of “America’s role in the world,” only 35% said they were ‘very or somewhat satisfied,’ while 62% said they were ‘very or somewhat dissatisfied.’

When asked if they believe that “life for our children’s generation” will be better than it has been for us, only 21% believe their children’s lives will be better, while a whopping 76% believe they will be worse. That’s the highest reading ever for this poll!

The poll offered the following two statements and asked respondents to pick one:

Statement A: The United States is a country where anyone, regardless of their background, can work hard, succeed and be comfortable financially.


Statement B: The widening gap between the incomes of the wealthy and everyone else is undermining the idea that every American has the opportunity to move up to a better standard of living.

The results: 44% picked statement A (anyone can succeed), while 54% picked Statement B (widening gap is undermining opportunity). The latter was the highest reading ever for this statement.

The poll offered two more statements on the economy and asked respondents to pick one:

  1. These are mostly deep and longstanding problems with the economy and it does not really matter what elected officials in Washington do.
  2. These are mostly problems with the inability of elected officials in Washington to get things done to help improve the economy.

The results: only 23% picked statement A (structural problems politicians can’t fix), while a whopping 71% picked B (inability of politicians to get things done).

And speaking of politicians, the respondents were pretty brutal in rating their performances.

On the question of “The [US] political system” in general, only 19% said they were ‘very or somewhat satisfied,’ while an eye-popping 79% said they were ‘very or somewhat dissatisfied.’

President Obama’s ‘job approval rating’ fell to a NEW LOW for this poll at only 40%, while his ‘disapproval rating’ tied his all-time high at 54%, up from 53% back in June. On his handling of the economy, 42% ‘approve,’ while 53% ‘disapprove.’ On his handling of foreign policy, only 36% ‘approve,’ while 60% ‘disapprove.’

But President Obama got off light as compared to Congress. Only 14% of respondents ‘approve’ of the job Congress is doing, whereas a whopping 79% ‘disapprove.’ Its approval rating was even lower, at 12% this time last year, when its disapproval rating was 83%.

You can see all of the poll results here.


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