Americans are braced for an unhappy new year, a new poll shows

2022-12-19 15:50:22
Americans are braced for an unhappy new year, a new poll shows

Americans believe the United States has gotten off on the wrong track, and are braced for an unhappy new year, a new poll shows.

Two-thirds of respondents in a poll by USA TODAY/Suffolk University express little confidence in either political party or any branch of government to effectively address the challenges they see ahead.

Their priority for President Joe Biden and the new Congress in 2023 is clear: inflation and the economy, chosen as the No. 1 or No. 2 issue by 54% of those surveyed. That's double the number for any other issue.

Peter Grant, a Democrat who owns a small marine business in Waldoboro, Maine, described himself as "weary."

"We're in for some tumultuous times," Grant, 62, predicted in a follow-up interview after participating in the poll. "Things are not good in this country right now in a lot of ways."

By 65%-26%, Americans say the country has gotten off on the wrong track, not headed in the right direction. At the end of last year, those surveyed said by 57%-30% the country was on the wrong track.

Inflation has taken a toll, even as gas prices have been declining. "My power bill is about $600 a month; that used to be half of that." Brown, 66, said. "Meat's way up; chicken's up; everything's up, up, up. If you're on fixed income, you know, I just don't know what some people do."

'We're being ruled by extremism on both sides'

Both the Republican Party and the Democratic Party are now seen as "too extreme" by a majority of Americans. Sixty-one percent say the GOP is too extreme, including 28% of those who identify themselves as Republicans.

Fifty-two percent say Democrats are too extreme, including 17% of self-identified Democrats.

Americans also have a net unfavorable view of all three branches of government: The Supreme Court by 44% unfavorable-42% favorable, Congress by 54%-28%, the president by 50%-46%.

Those findings and the public's dyspeptic mood are a challenge not only for Biden but also for just about every officeholder in Washington.


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