Engrained in the American character, it seemed, was optimism. Liberals believe in progress and Conservatives believe in Ronald Reagan’s “morning in America.” Now, though, we are seeing something very different:
Americans are deeply pessimistic about the state of the country and its future, according to a series of new national polls, a negativity that puts politicians in a difficult place as they try to woo voters and keep hold on office.
In the new NBC-Wall Street Journal poll, 63 percent said the country was headed in the wrong direction, the highest number in President Obama’s term to date. A similar 67 percent said the country was headed off on the wrong track in a Washington Post/ABC News survey released earlier this week.
New Pew data paints an even darker picture of Americans’ views about our current standing — particularly in regards the economy. Nearly nine in ten Americans say the current economic conditions are either “fair” or “poor” and there is an overwhelming sense that we as a country are losing ground.
Fully 67 percent of the sample said the country was “losing ground” on the budget deficit — today’s expected House vote on the tax cut compromise won’t help there — while 64 percent say ground is being lost on “cost of living”. Two thirds (63 percent) said the country is losing ground on the “availability of good-paying jobs” and 58 percent said the same about the “rich-poor gap”.
The numbers are startling and make clear the challenge before President Obama — or any politician — hoping to convince people that better days are indeed ahead.
So, are you pessimistic, or have you found some grounds for optimism? Might this new pessimistic phase be healthy for Americans? Or the contrary? And what does Christianity have to say about this?