October 7, 2008

We're less satisfied then ever.

Only 12% of us were satisfied in 1979, the lowest level of satisfaction in Gallup polling history, until now. Only 9% of us are satisfied with "the way things are going in the United States at this time."

63 comments:

wurly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
former law student said...

As I predicted, W. has surpassed Jimmy Carter's previous low rating. Unfortunately there is no Reagan in sight.

Michael_H said...

Or maybe 91% are just whiners. Or are tired of the damn political commercials and telephone calls at dinner time.

Of course, 34% of Americans believe in the existnce of ghosts and UFOs, so we've got that going for us.

Revenant said...

As I predicted, W. has surpassed Jimmy Carter's previous low rating.

If you're talking about approval ratings, Bush did that a long time ago. If you're talking about the topic of this post, Bush wasn't a subject of the poll.

the wolf said...

I'm not surprised. Compared to today, the news media in 1979 was all sunshine and lollips. Today, if unemployment moves from 5.6% to 5.7%, the media talks about "soaring unemployment." Eight years of being spoon-fed domm and gloom will have that effect on the population.

Of course, this only occurs with a Republican president.

former law student said...

If you're talking about the topic of this post, Bush wasn't a subject of the poll.

Amazing that an Althouse commenter can consciously isolate W. from any responsibility for "the way things are going in the United States at this time." Does he similarly deny Reagan's responsibility for the largest peacetime economic boom in history?

Chris Wren said...

Yeah, the media ran nothing but upbeat, chirpy can-do stories prior to the universal leftist takeover of the 1970s. It's all their fault people are dissatisfied with the way things are.

Michael_H said...

The flaw with the survey is that it doesn't quantify the level of dissatisfaction, so the 9% number is meaningless conducting any kind of analysis.

I'd like to know who is dissatisfied by demographic breakdown, along with some measure of the strength of their dissatisfaction.

The results should be compared with the results of similar studies done during similar periods in the election cycle, and under similar economic circumstances.

Otherwise, it's just another bit of meaningless information that can be used by members of group A to blame members of group B for whatever.

Henry said...

Bush is the president.

Obama's about to be the next one.

Something for everyone to grouse about.

* * *

I'm pretty happy with my own direction, but that's not the question.

Verso said...

It has been funny watching wingnuts and lunatics attempt to paint Obama as the new Carter, when obviously the new Carter is George W. Bush. I don't blame conservatives for attempting the subterfuge, but no one's going to fall for it.

Only, Bush makes Carter seem like Reagan.

Good news, though! Palin makes Bush look like Reagan!

I was reading some transcripts of George W. Bush's past debates over the weekend, and I was astonished to discover that compared to Palin, Bush is absolutely coherent. I mean, he could string several sentences together to express a single, coherent thought, something Palin can still barely do.

Look how low the standard is, now, for the new leader of the conservative movement: she speaks two sentences on a tarmac without obvious malapropism, and Ann Althouse exults over the dawning of a new age.

You have no idea how hard the rest of us are laughing. And as long as disaster doesn't strike in the form of that ignorant woman rising to high office, we'll have the luxury to continue laughing.

goesh said...

- we soon won't have Bush to kick around, by God! he's been a good scapegoat

OldManRick said...

This says more about the American public than anything else.

1979 looked like this

Inflation 13%
Unemployment 12%
GNP Growth 1.2%
Interest rates 15% on a 30 year fixed
20 minute gas lines and alternating fill up days depending on if your license plate was odd or even.
Iran hostage crisis
Democrat president

2008 looks like this

Inflation 5%
Unemployment 5.7%
GNP Growth 1.9% Down from over 4% last year
Interest rates 5.5% on 30yr fixed
There were four cars at the gas station today and I had to drive an extra 50 feet to an empty pump
Iraq stabilized
Republican president

These poll results seem to be immune to facts (except for the last fact)

Hoosier Daddy said...

Unfortunately there is no Reagan in sight.

FLS, considering your consistent support of the most left leaning if not socialist candidate in US history, I find it interesting you pine for the second coming of Reagan.

Alex said...

I can only conclude:

A nation of whiners. Americans make me sick.

SteveR said...

There's a lot of people who if they had to deal with the conditions of 1979, would consider today's circumstances idyllic. I got a 12% raise and lost buying power. Mortgage problem? Try 15.5% at the low end of an ARM. Many cancers were a death sentence. Ever got in a fight over your place in a gas line? Oh yeah... Disco.

former law student said...

the most left leaning if not socialist candidate in US history

These are the mere words that we were warned about. Note that a Republican is nationalizing our finance industry.

I find it interesting you pine for the second coming of Reagan.

Like Reagan was at bottom, Obama is a pragmatist. Further, Obama has promised to tax the very richest people the same as Reagan did.

Chip Ahoy said...

You guys are leaving out the most important miserable fact of all, EVERYBODY HATES US 111!!!!!111!!!!.

And now the economy has tanked to the lowest since the dinosaurs BECAUSE OF REPUBLICAN FREE-WHEELING ANYTHING-GOES DEREGULATION AND EIGHT DECADES OF BUSH'S FAILED ECONOMIC POLICIES 111!!!111!!!1!

Hoosier Daddy said...

These are the mere words that we were warned about. Note that a Republican is nationalizing our finance industry.

I never thought Bush as much a conservative much less a Republican. Unlike Obama, Bush did a good job at hiding it.

Obama is a pragmatist.

I don't see anything practical about the redristrbution of wealth.

Further, Obama has promised to tax the very richest people the same as Reagan did.

I must have missed that one because liberals have always told me he let all the rich people keep their money and the poor got poorer, homelessness surged and the children starved.

Hoosier Daddy said...

This says more about the American public than anything else.

Well when Harry Reid was telling people that Iraq is worse than Vietnam it's pretty easy to convince people that 2008 is a repeat of 1929.

Except this time we won't have FDR getting on TV explaining the stock market to us. I guess we'll have to go to Home Depot or Katie's resturaunt for a lecture from Biden.

AJ Lynch said...

Let's see 1979 predates cell phones, the internets, MSNBC, instant replay, hybrid cars, AIDS, the BMI index, craigslist, Chris Matthews and some were even predicting an Ice Age.

Maybe there are good reasons we were happier then. Heh.

Paul Zrimsek said...

I'm pretty happy with my own direction, but that's not the question.

That's kind of the problem.

The real question is, how happy are the babies?

ElcubanitoKC said...
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AJ Lynch said...

Good catch Paul. The poll found most of us are happy but the MSM put the dire spin and headline on the results.

ElcubanitoKC said...

Chip, I love it, 80 years of it...LOL

But, seriously, who's surprised?
Aside from the obvious and very real economic woes, we have had almost 8 years of constant negative commentary, even good economic numbers have come with the tagline "but experts don't expect it to last". Polls are very "carefully" conducted to reflect exactly what the pollster wants to reflect and send a message to the public at large, that if you don't agree with "the obvious majority according to this poll" you are deranged and living in a fantasy world.I would not be shocked if for once the number is actually true.

Many people's minds can only receive so much negativity without going the same way.

Simon said...

That number, though, is desperately misleading. Although it could and will be taken to imply consensus, it implies no such thing. It has nothing to say about why people are dissatisfied, or what they regard as the right way forward.

If I was polled today, I would say that I was dissatisfied - horrified, even - with the way that things are going in the United States. I fancy that Former Law Student would give a similar answer. Given that I take the view that I do because I see us adopting the flawed answers of the left and marching headling into the long night of an Obama administration, however, it is a flawed poll indeed that would suggest that FLS and I actually agree.

Similarly, Newt Gingrich and Barack Obama both passionately believe that we are going in the wrong direction and that we need real change in this country; do you think they agree on what that direction is and what the change ought to be?

For these reasons, such polls should be taken with a great deal of skepticism, and the suspicion that they are hiding a deeper and more fundamental complexity behind a very thin veneer of facile consensus.

integrity said...

The American public should be happy, they have gotten everything they wanted.

Willful ignorance is the law of the land.

They have given all of their money to wealthy people.

They are being offered up politicians that can't even speak english properly(willful ignorance in action).

They have invaded a country that did not attack them, showing the world how tough they are.

They have put corporations in charge of their lives and the writing of their laws.

They have a government that does not regulate virtually anything. The deregulation they crave, while destroying the value of all they have(regulation creates value, we can't have that now can we).


What the hell do these people have to be unhappy with.

They got everything they wanted.

Enjoy.

Revenant said...

Amazing that an Althouse commenter can consciously isolate W. from any responsibility for "the way things are going in the United States at this time."

An intelligent person, such as myself, recognizes that there is no way to tell from this poll what portion of that 91% dissatisfaction is Bush's fault and what portion of the 88% dissatisfaction of 1979 is Carter's fault. So an intelligent person recognizes that we can't say anything about the relative performance of Bush and Carter by looking at these polls.

You, being an unintelligent person, did not realize that, which is why I corrected you.

Does he similarly deny Reagan's responsibility for the largest peacetime economic boom in history?

I didn't "deny" that Bush was responsible for the 9% satisfaction. I pointed out that the poll doesn't support your claim. Bush may well be responsible for it, but this poll doesn't show that.

Electric Whatever said...

People will be a lot less happy when or if the Democratic Party controls the Congress and the White House 'cuz you can bet there'll be more taxes.

Have you heard about the new tax on the number of miles you drive?

That's right. In the future, your car will be outfitted with a mandatory GPS device which will transmit your mileage to federal, state, and local authorities for tax computation..based on how how much you drive.

www.roaduserstudy.org Tests in six states begin soon. Volunteers will be paid $895. Then they'll be polled to see what they think of this new tax. Some survey. Pay people, then ask if they like what they're getting paid for.

The Democratic candidate for governor in my state says "we must search for new [tax revenue] options," re: highways. The GOP candidate is thinking about it. Great.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Nah, this poll is reported accurately (the link is directly to Gallup)-- the caveat is that what the poll is giving you is basically people's (mostly erroneous) opinions about how other people are doing.

ElcubanitoKC said...

integrity said...
[...]

What the hell do these people have to be unhappy with.

They got everything they wanted.

Enjoy.

12:37 PM


Compared to most of the planet, yes, Americans do have everything they want. And to those other people, it does sound like whining. So, don't go there...

Shanna said...

I am so sick of polls, but I'm not surprised any right now are bad when everyone is screaming depression. Hell, a third of those people think we are ALREADY in a depression! Idiots.

Like Reagan was at bottom, Obama is a pragmatist.

I certainly hope you are right, but I fear you are wrong.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

That's right. In the future, your car will be outfitted with a mandatory GPS device which will transmit your mileage to federal, state, and local authorities for tax computation..based on how how much you drive.

Well, unless the government plans to come and retrofit our 67 Chevy Stepside P/U truck, 72 K5 Blazer, 54 Chevy half ton or 67 Ventura....they are S.O.L. on that one. What? are they going to force me to buy a new car?

chickenlittle said...

Musical time out:
Unsatisfied, from The Replacements.

AJ Lynch said...

Integrity -

you are absolutely right. We got everything we wanted. Just one exception though, we want one more thing. We demand you surrender your name.

AJ Lynch said...

Electric/ DBQ:

I have heard Oregon is moving ahead with this kind of tax scheme. California was kicking it around too.

I seriously doubt Americans will want to give the govt the ability to know where they are driving.

Revenant said...

What? are they going to force me to buy a new car?

They could force you to install the device. It would be easy to do; just deny your registration renewal until you provide proof that you've had the work done. California does that with the yearly smog checks on old cars.

I have to say, though, that while a GPS device raises all sorts of privacy issues, I don't see the inherent problem with taxing people based on miles driven. A whole lot of tax money gets spent maintaining the roads; what's wrong with divvying that up among the people who actually USE the roads, in proportion to how much they use them? That sounds like a fantastic idea to me. If it was done with an odometer rather than a GPS I'd have no problem with it.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

A whole lot of tax money gets spent maintaining the roads; what's wrong with divvying that up among the people who actually USE the roads, in proportion to how much they use them?

Well, that might be fine IF, and that is a big fat IF, they actually used the funds to repair the roads that I actually drive upon. Instead the funds would go to repair roads and highways in areas that we, in this geographic area never will use.

Because this is a rural/resort area, the nearest big city is 150 miles away, we tend to drive many more miles on a daily basis than, say a person who lives in San Francisco or even Sacramento, yet the road repairs (guaranteed) would go to those areas for rapid transit and urban renovations.

Until we get our fair share of the apportionment....they can bite me.

Revenant said...

In most states, rural areas get a disproportionately large share of taxes. This is because most states (e.g., California) use a bicameral legislature that gives low-population districts or counties a disproportionately large voice in state politics. Thus, northern California gets more tax money than it contributes to the budget.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Thus, northern California gets more tax money than it contributes to the budget

Define your idea of what constitutes Northern California.

mcg said...

I told California to "bite me" 18 months ago when I took my ass and my assets out of the state. There is plenty about California I miss but its governance is not one of them.

Henry said...

Have you heard about the new tax on the number of miles you drive?

This is new? The gas tax does this already -- and it (more or less) takes the weight of the vehicle into account.

The only thing "new" is taxing the same thing twice.

Oh wait a minute. That isn't new.

Revenant said...

North of the SF bay area. I should have said "rural California".

AJ Lynch said...

In Pennsy, they require an annual vehicle inspection. The state could note your new odometer mileage and send you a bill for your annual mileage.

And As Henry noted, we are already paying a tax at the pump based on gasoline purchases.

wurly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
integrity said...

AJ Lynch said...
Integrity -

you are absolutely right. We got everything we wanted. Just one exception though, we want one more thing. We demand you surrender your name.



Only when I have a guarantee that you have lost all or most of your retirement.

If I know you will be old and broke and have received your appropriate comeuppance for what you have done to this country, then I will surrender my moniker.

Only then, and I would need to see all of your financial records. I don't trust you as far as I can throw you.

Arturius said...

I don't see the inherent problem with taxing people based on miles driven. A whole lot of tax money gets spent maintaining the roads; what's wrong with divvying that up among the people who actually USE the roads, in proportion to how much they use them?

Well I certainly do considering the $3+ per gallon I'm paying now includes both federal and state taxes which last time I checked was supposed to be used for road maintenance.

I'd rather see a more efficient use of the existing revenue rather than coming up with more ways in which to take mine from me.

Cedarford said...

Michael_H - Michael_H said...
The flaw with the survey is that it doesn't quantify the level of dissatisfaction, so the 9% number is meaningless conducting any kind of analysis.


Right, so Reagan openly asking if voters were better off under Carter and the Ruling Democrats in Congress than they were 4 years before as a "meaningless" question.

Like it or not, Presidential nominees come laden with their Party's baggage and their bad President's baggage at certain times of high dissatisfaction. Even more than Humphrey in 1968, Ford in 1976, Gore in 1992 - McCain is saddled with the messes of Dubya and the Republican Congress.

Frankly, even with Obama being an unqualified snake oil merchant, it is amazing that the contest is so close given the massive dissatisfaction with the Bush Administration, Wall Street, Neocons, and the Corrupticans.

And Revenent - Presidential approval numbers reliably mirror "country on right track/wrong track" polls, since they were 1st analyzed back in the Truman era...You are being disingenuous insisting that you cannot see a condemnation of Bush and by proxy, serious trouble for Lifetime Senator McCain from right track/wrong track polls.

It was damn obvious to Reagan in 1980 that voters respond and oust the Party that has led the nation on the wrong track.

former law student said...

Well, that might be fine IF, and that is a big fat IF, they actually used the funds to repair the roads that I actually drive upon. Instead the funds would go to repair roads and highways in areas that we, in this geographic area never will use.

This is exactly how Bay Areans, with not one, not two, but EIGHT toll bridges feel when they drive up I-5 over spectacular bridges free from any toll. AHA! there's where our gas tax revenues go, they exclaim.

AJ Lynch said...

Integrity -sorry you feel that way. I don't wish ill to your investments or to your retirement accounts. I hope you make a killing!

Everyone should have a chance to taste success not just us mean old Rebublicans.

integrity said...

AJ Lynch said...
Integrity -sorry you feel that way. I don't wish ill to your investments or to your retirement accounts. I hope you make a killing!

Everyone should have a chance to taste success not just us mean old Rebublicans.



I actually did alright yesterday. I bought 10 puts of Monsanto October 65's on 6/6/08 for $.20, sold half of them yesterday for $4.00. Not bad, huh. I hope to get even more for the 5 puts I have left, they expire next friday. If the market slide continues I could really score.

Michael_H said...

It was damn obvious to Reagan in 1980 that voters respond and oust the Party that has led the nation on the wrong track.

Right, and that included the Dem administration Dem majority in both houses of Congress.

In the present election, the administration is Republican while both houses are held by the Dems. The Dems control the Congress at a time when their leaders bear some responsibility for blocking the GSE oversight efforts that the administration and the Rep minority sought.

Rightly or wrongly, the Bush administration is being blamed for the lack of oversight and some of the budget excesses caused by Congress.

So the Carter to Reagan comparison is inaccurate.

veni vidi vici said...

"They are being offered up politicians that can't even speak english properly(willful ignorance in action)."

Let me fix this.

"Politicians: willful ignorance, inaction."

There, that's better.

AJ Lynch said...

Integrity:

See that- you proved life is good. There is hope for all of us.

Shoot you should be giving us investment tips.

bearbee said...

Graph peaked in late 2001 at 70% and has plummeted since. What were the reasons for dissatisfaction along the way? Were reason primarily economic based or other?

Would like to see some refinment

I'm surprised that government dissatisfaction was not higher.

There is plenty about California I miss but its governance is not one of them.

re: governance, given its debt level, the highest in the nation at $22.2 billion, I wouldd'nt think you would.

integrity said...

AJ Lynch said...
Integrity:

See that- you proved life is good. There is hope for all of us.

Shoot you should be giving us investment tips.



I never said life wasn't good, I'm just very unhappy with the political situation in this country. Including the reign of Clinton.

I bought options, both puts and calls, the day after a huge Dow jump that I knew was not legit. I paid between $.05-$.20 for puts and calls in several different companies and have done pretty well(my inital investment for all of the options was about $550 and I have made about $3,000 so far, with the last 5 puts in Monsanto being all that's left to sell). I basically looked at the stocks that were at their 52 week highs and lows on 6/5/08 and then went to the option chains and picked the cheapest options I could find for companies on those lists. I would never pay more than $.20 per share for any put or call. I used money that I expected to lose, not money I needed. Options are extremely risky and you really have to follow them every single day, but they can be extremely profitable.

Luckily I liquidated all of my stock positions by Veteran's Day 2007 or I would be in a panic right now.

Ben (The Tiger) said...

Further, Obama has promised to tax the very richest people the same as Reagan did.

Obama's pledged to knock the top marginal federal income tax rates to 28%? Score! I'd vote for that.

AJ Lynch said...

Good for you Integrity.

I suck at picking stocks. If I buy it, it collapses the next day.

PatCA said...

How can you tell Obama is a pragmatist? What has he done in either Illinois or the US Senate to indicate his method of solving problems?

I would agree he's an opportunist, though. He changes with the political winds and mostly votes Present.

Revenant said...

How can you tell Obama is a pragmatist?

If he was an idealist, he'd probably have taken a stand on something by now. :)

blake said...

given its debt level, the highest in the nation at $22.2 billion

And, hey, that's from $0 a couple of decades ago, so work that math out! We've gone from among the lowest to the highest in about 20-25 years!

We're #1! We're #1!

Quayle said...

People are usually unhappy because of what is going on inside themselves, not outside of themselves.

But people usually blame the things outside of themselves, because they don't want to admit that they know they aren't living the way they should.

The facts are that in terms of health, lifespan, food, wealth, leasure time, toys to play with, and numbers killed in battle - these last 20 years are about as good a time in these catigories as the world has ever seen in its history

But because people are doing selfish things that they know, deep inside, are wrong, they are nervous, prone to irritation, and waiting for some shoe to drop.

For example, the markets are not short on capital, they are short on trust.

Trust is a person to person issue, not a national or global political issue.

Simon said...

wurly said...
"Under the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Reynolds v. Sims, all state congresscritters, whether representative or senator, must be from equally populous districts."

A decision that was among the worst violence done to America by the Warren Court -- pure fabrication, an arrogant usurpation of power, policy-as-law and bad policy at that -- and a decision that, along with the Baker decision that preceded it, I would vote to overrule if I was on the court today and a case presenting the question arose. For the record.

Issob Morocco said...

A new Fez Productions poll out says only 0.2% of respondents are satisfied with polls indicating people's real beliefs on anything.
What does Althouse make of that indicator? Bloggers want to know.

Cheers!