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Poll: Under Joe Biden, Americans Are Losing Hope

Americans are 'deeply pessimistic' about the economy, political divide, and the American dream

San Diego gas prices in February 2022 / Reuters
• June 6, 2022 1:20 pm

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Americans are "deeply pessimistic" about the economy, the United States' political divisions, and most people's ability to achieve the American dream, according to a Wall Street Journal-NORC poll released Monday.

Around 83 percent of respondents said the economy is "poor or not so good," and 35 percent said they aren't "satisfied at all with their financial situation"—the highest level of dissatisfaction since the pollster started asking the question in 1972.

Thirty-eight percent of respondents said their financial situation had gotten worse, the highest amount since the Great Recession.

Record-high inflation under President Joe Biden is driving their economic pessimism, NORC vice president Jennifer Benz told the Journal. Multiple economists, including former Obama administration officials, have blamed Biden's multitrillion-dollar American Rescue Plan for the inflation numbers. Experts predict the United States is heading for a recession under Biden. Gas prices have more than doubled since Biden took office.

The economy is not the only issue on which Americans feel pessimistic, however. Eighty-six percent of respondents said the United States is "greatly divided" about "the most important values," and over half said they expect divisions to worsen.

"In the prior years that we've asked this question, there's at least been some hope, a little bit more hope," Benz said. "That's a key difference" from this year.

Almost 60 percent of respondents said they doubt that most people can achieve the American dream.

Robert Benda, a former Democrat, told the Journal that he cannot afford to visit family because of sky-high gas prices under Biden.

"I'm angry," Benda said. "Our government is doing what's right for their special-interest groups, and everybody else be damned."

Just 13 percent of respondents said they think Americans of differing political views can "come together and solve the country's problems." Nearly two-thirds of respondents said social media platforms deserve blame for that divide.

The poll, which surveyed 1,071 people, was conducted from May 9 to May 17.

Published under: Inflation, Joe Biden