Just 47% of Americans say country’s headed in right direction—but that’s a good thing

Just 47% of Americans say country’s headed in right direction—but that’s a good thing

New polling from NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist released late last week found that just 47% of Americans think the nation is headed in the right direction while 49% say it is not. On their face, the numbers don’t seem particularly positive, while also not being overwhelmingly negative. But in actuality it’s pretty good news for President Joe Biden and Democrats for a couple of reasons.

First is the fact that the numbers represent a dramatic improvement from January, when the same poll found that just 20% of respondents viewed the nation as on track in the days following the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol. At the time, fully 75% of respondents said the country was heading in the wrong direction.

But the data also compares favorably to recent historical trends, according to CNN analyst Harry Enten. At the exact same point in the Trump administration’s first year, for instance, the Marist poll found just 31% of Americans said the nation was on track, while 61% said it wasn’t.

But Enten also compared today’s “right track” average of polls to the averages from surveys conducted at this time of year over the last decade. Here are his aggregate findings.

Right Track/Wrong Track Polling Aggregates

Right Track
Wrong Track

June 2021
43%
51%

June 2020
22%
71%

June 2017
34%
58%

June 2009
43%
50%

Enten said he had to go all the way back to the first year of President Barack Obama’s administration to find an aggregate as high as 43% of Americans saying the country was headed in the right direction.

“So this is the highest number in a decade—over a decade,” Enten said of the current 43% “right track” aggregate.

Naturally, partisanship greatly affects people’s right track/wrong track perceptions. The big difference now versus last year when just 22% said the U.S. was on the right track was among independents, though even Republicans weren’t exactly thrilled at this time last year. 

Partisan Breakdown of ‘Right Track’ Polling aggregates

June 2021
June 2020

Democrats
73%
11%

Independents
38%
16%

Republicans
11%
39%

Enten went on to say that President Biden would be in pretty good shape to win reelection based on where the “right track” polling stands right now. Going back to 1980, whenever roughly 42% of Americans or more say the country is head in the right direction, the incumbent party wins reelection. When that number is down around 25%, as it was for Trump last year, the incumbent party typically loses reelection.

So sitting around 42% or higher on the “right track” measure is actually pretty good territory.

From Daily Kos at Read More. This article is republished from DailyKos under an open content license. Read the original article at DailyKos.

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