The State of the Union According to Americans

The State of the Union According to Americans February 7, 2023

President Biden will deliver his 2023 State of the Union Address tonight.  So it is appropriate to see what Americans think about the state of the union.

A Gallup poll on the Mood of the Nation, conducted between January 2 and January 22, attempts to assess that.

When it comes to “the overall quality of life” in America, 65% say that they are “very or somewhat satisfied.”  Americans also feel good about “the opportunity for a person to get ahead by working hard,” with 61% being satisfied.  Nearly half of Americans, 48%, are satisfied with “the influence of organized religion.”

Then we get a drop off.  Only one-third, 33%, are satisfied with “the size and power of the federal government. “Similarly, only 33% are satisfied with “our system of government and how well it works.”

Americans aren’t satisfied with their government, and they are even less satisfied with the private sector.  Only 27% are satisfied with “the size and influence of major corporations.”  Only 24% are satisfied with “the way income and wealth are distributed in the U.S.”

It is surely significant that he biggest point of dissatisfaction is the moral condition of the country.  Only 20% of Americans are satisfied with “the moral and ethical climate.”

Studies like this one don’t always tell us everything that they seem to.  There are lots of reasons for not being satisfied with something.  The Left isn’t going to be satisfied about the state of America, and neither is the Right.  They have different reasons, but agree only in their dissatisfaction.

Both the Left and the Right complain about the big corporations.  If only one out of three Americans is satisfied about “our system of government and how well it works,” that can be interpreted as an alarming threat to the Republic.  (“Two out of three dislike our system of government?  They are against the Constitution?  They oppose democracy?”)  Again, both leftwing socialists and rightwing integralists would think that.  Then again, many of the respondents may have just been focusing on the last part of the question, which doesn’t necessarily relate to the first:  “how well it works.”  And Americans across the spectrum could agree that our government hasn’t been working all that well.

Still, the answers that showed the highest degrees of dissatisfaction might tell us something significant.  Only one out of four Americans is satisfied with “the way income and wealth are distributed in the U.S.”?  Does that show a broad scale latent desire for wealth redistribution, for some kind of socialist economy rather than free market capitalism?  If so, that could have revolutionary implications.  That, coupled with the loathing for big corporations, would suggest that the nation is drifting towards progressivism, at least where the economy is concerned.

Then again, the concern for morality would suggest that the country is drifting towards conservatism when it comes to cultural issues.  Notice, though, that the 80% who are unhappy about America’s moral climate would have to include people who are themselves contributing to that problem!  That shouldn’t be so surprising, since all of us transgressors of the law are pretty much aware of what we are doing, know it’s wrong, and, on some level at least, feel guilty about it (Romans 2:15).

How would you assess the state of the union?


Photo:  President Joe Biden by Gage Skidmore from Surprise, AZ, United States of America – Joe Biden, CC BY-SA 2.0,




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