by Josh Hypes
More than two-thirds of voters now say the United States is headed in the wrong direction, according to a new poll from the State Policy Network. Voter satisfaction with the country’s direction has continued to plummet since July.
SPN’s State’s Voices opinion poll surveyed nearly 2,000 registered voters and was conducted in partnership with Morning Consult through online interviews.
Erin Norman, a messaging strategist for SPN, said the data showed trust in federal institutions have remained stable but low. In 2019, 40% of voters said they trusted the federal government to handle domestic issues, according to data from Gallup. In its most recent poll, SPN found that only 33% of voters somewhat trusted the federal government, while only 15% greatly or completely trusted the government.
State and local governments polled substantially better. More than 40% of respondents said they somewhat trusted their state and local governments and nearly 20% greatly or completely trusted them.
Voter approval of President Joe Biden’s performance remains low at 43%, according to the poll. This is a slight improvement from 38% approval in July.
“We’ve consistently seen low levels of trust in all levels of government,” Norman said. “Trust in state and local government remains a little bit higher, but it’s still not really where you would ideally want to see it.”
Anxiety over economic concerns weighed heavily on voters’ minds. More than 75% of respondents said they had cut back spending in the past three months because of economic concerns.
“What the data here is telling us from this poll is that people really are feeling the pinch,” Norman said. “The vast majority of Americans have had to make some sort of cutback in their lives based on economic concerns.”
Norman said that many Americans feel there are no affordable options for housing or energy. In 2019, the median price for a single family home was $274,000. By October 2022, the price has nearly doubled to $384,000, according to the National Association of Realtors.
Similarly, energy prices broke records in June as the average price for a gallon of gas pushed above $5. As of this week, the average price of gas is $3.12.
Norman said that despite regressive trust in the government and economic cutbacks, nearly two-thirds of voters said they were very or somewhat optimistic about the future.
“I feel like that’s such a uniquely American perspective and one that gets lost in a lot of the doom and gloom … of news that comes out today,” Norman said. “So people are really optimistic about their own future. They’re a little bit less optimistic about the future of America.”
The poll had a margin of error of 2%.
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Josh Hypes is a contributor to The Center Square.
Photo “U.S. Capitol Building” by The U.S. National Archives.