PRINCETON, N.J. -- The percentage of Americans satisfied with the way things are going in the United States is now at the lowest level Gallup has measured since the early recession years of the Reagan administration: only 29 percent satisfied, with two-thirds of all Americans, 67 percent, saying they are dissatisfied.
Responses to this very basic Gallup question: "Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the way things are going in the United States at this time?" have a history of quick change. Up to 55 percent of Americans professed to be satisfied as recently as February. Then, satisfaction dropped in summer, to 43 percent, but jumped back up immediately after the movement of U.S. troops to Saudi Arabia, to 51 percent. Now it is back down to the lowest levels of the Bush administration.
Two overriding reasons are behind the current dissatisfaction: the economy and concern over the situation in the Persian Gulf.
The percentage of Americans who mention some aspect of the economy as the most important problem the country faces is actually no larger now than in July -- 42 percent now compared with 44 percent. The biggest change is that 17 percent mention the Iraqi situation.