The first is the highest mark Gallup has ever recorded on the measure dating back to its first take over 13 years ago. The latter is the highest since the start of the coronavirus pandemic early last year.
A number of different measurements show that Americans feel better about themselves and the state of the country than they have been in some time.
This positivity goes beyond the personal and into the political.
This 47% was the highest percentage who said the country was heading in the right direction in Marist polls since 2009, in the first year of the Obama administration. It’s quite a turnaround from former President Donald Trump at this point in his presidency. Only 31% of Americans said the country was going in the right direction in a Marist poll from June 2017, while 61% said we were going in the wrong direction.
Of course, Marist is just a pollster.
When you look at the average of all polls, 43% of Americans agree that the country is heading in the right direction compared to 51% who think it is on the wrong track. Last year at this point, just 22% of Americans thought the country was headed in the right direction. Four years ago, 34% said the country was heading in the right direction in a poll average.
While we would expect Democrats to be more bullish now than they used to be, it’s worth noting that they are more positive about the direction of the country now than Republicans were four years ago. In the Marist poll, for example, 87% of Democrats now think the country is heading in the right direction compared to 66% of Republicans in mid-2017. Likewise, many more independents say the country is heading in the right direction (44%) than four years ago at this point (23%).
The last time before President Joe Biden’s administration that 43% of Americans said the country was heading in the right direction in an average poll was in 2009.
Indeed, 43% believing that the country was going in the right direction is in fact a very good percentage historically.
On average, 42% of Americans said the country was moving in this direction in the years the ruling party was reelected to the White House. Just over 49% said the country was on the wrong track.
The percentages right now are very similar to these averages.
They are very different from the average 25% of Americans who think the country was heading in the right direction during the years the opposition party won the White House. On election day last year, only about 30% of Americans said the country was heading in the right direction.
Interestingly, perhaps the best way to know that people are feeling more charitable than normal about the state of our politics is to turn to Congress. Even the notoriously hated Congress has seen its approval rating increase this year. For the first time since 2009, the approval rate of Congress has exceeded 30% this year.
Now, an approval rating in your 30s isn’t that high. Yet politics is often quite relative.
The question is whether Americans will continue to feel the good vibes. If they do, Biden and the Democrats will likely benefit. If feelings crumble, Democrats are probably having a rough time halfway through.