The perception of U.S. adults on the state of the nation is predominantly one of dissatisfaction, according to a Gallup report published on Feb. 2.

Of the eight aspects of life measures presented in the survey, a majority of respondents expressed satisfaction on only two:

  • “Overall quality of life”: 69% — up two points from 2021 but down 15 points from 2020.
  • “The opportunity for a person to get ahead by working hard”: 60% — up two points from 2021 but down 12 from 2020.

Dissatisfaction with “the influence of organized religion” was at 48%, tying an all-time low set last year, and 11 points below 2020.

The all-time high for satisfaction with organized religion’s influence was in 2002 at 69%. From 2003 to 2020, satisfaction levels ebbed and flowed between 59% (2003 and 2020) and 52% (2018) before dipping to 48% in 2020 – the first time that satisfaction dropped below 50%.

The decline in the last couple of years is mostly due to a growing dissatisfaction among Republican respondents, with their level of satisfaction in organized religion’s influence declining 11 points since last year. By comparison, Democrat respondents saw a two-point increase to 37% satisfied.

Among all U.S. adults, a strong majority (78%) also expressed dissatisfaction with “the moral and ethical climate of the nation.” This is a three-point decline from the all-time high of 81% being dissatisfied in 2021, yet it remains 10 points above dissatisfaction levels in 2020.

While a majority of respondents have never expressed satisfaction on this measure in polling history – the highest level of satisfaction was 40% in 2005 — it is the second highest level of dissatisfaction.

There was an eight-point increase to 23% among Democrat respondents saying they are satisfied with the moral/ethical climate, and a one-point decrease to 15% among Republican respondents.

A similar pattern was seen in the response of all U.S. adults to the 21 policy areas presented, with only three receiving a majority of satisfied responses:

  • “The acceptance of gays and lesbians in the nation”: 62% — up seven points from 2021 and up six points from 2020.
  • “The nation’s military strength and preparedness”: 61% — down 13 points from 2021 and down 20 points from 2020.
  • “The position of women in the nation”: 60% — down two points from 2021 and three points from 2021.

The three lowest satisfaction levels were related to “the nation’s efforts to deal with poverty and homelessness” (21% satisfied), “the nation’s policies to reduce or control crime” (24%) and “the nation’s policies regarding the abortion issue” (24%).

Overall satisfaction with policies related to poverty and homelessness rose three points and dissatisfaction dropped two points since last year, while satisfaction with crime policy dropped three points and dissatisfaction rose seven points, and satisfaction with abortion policies dropped nine points and dissatisfaction rose 11 points to 66%.

“Last year’s Mood of the Nation survey captured a dour public, likely reflecting that it coincided with the deadliest phase of the coronavirus pandemic and the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol,” the report said. “Americans are no more satisfied with most aspects of the state of the nation now than they were a year ago.”

The full report is available here. The topline results, noting a plus-or-minus 4% margin of error, is available here.

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