Americans' Views of State of the Country

The most recent Gallup annual Mood of the Nation poll (conducted January 2014) asked Americans to rate the present standing of the U.S. using a zero-to-10 ladder scale--with 10 being the best possible situation for the country and zero being the worst. Scores from six to 10 are considered positive, and scores from zero to four are considered negative; five is neutral.

The survey indicates that, as a whole, Americans are ambivalent about the state of the country: 39 percent view the nation positively, and 40 percent negatively.  But there is a significant difference in how Whites and non-Whites now rate the state of the nation.  Whites and non-Whites' views have diverged since 2008, with non-Whites becoming increasingly positive about the US situation, while Whites have become much less so.  Nonwhites are now almost twice as likely as whites to view the nation's situation positively (57 vs 33 percent).

The poll also shows that ratings are influenced by party identification, with Democrats expressing more positive feelings about the state of the country (54 percent) than either Independents (33 percent) or Republicans (29 percent).

Finally, "Americans view the nation's future -- and its past -- more favorably than its present. While nearly four in 10 view the current situation positively, exactly half (50%) view the future positively and 53% reflect positively on the past. Historically, this has not always been the case. From 1985 to 2002, Americans viewed the future more positively than the past."

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Frederique Laubepin

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