The national firework displays, star-spangled banners, and backyard barbecues that traditionally pepper the United States’ Fourth of July celebrations stand eerily juxtaposed against a suffused gloom of dissatisfaction among likely American voters. This dark cloud hangs in the wake of a revealing Rasmussen Reports survey that concluded only 29 percent of citizens believe the U.S. is “heading in the right direction,” adding a sobering hue to the forthcoming Independence Day feasts.
29% Say U.S. Heading in Right Direction
Twenty-nine percent (29%) of Likely U.S. Voters think the country is heading in the right direction, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey for the week ending June 29, 2023.https://t.co/xyfANRjipt pic.twitter.com/So8BDwXDOx
— Rasmussen Reports (@Rasmussen_Poll) July 3, 2023
The poll results, exposed on Rasmussen’s Twitter account, were derived from a phone and online survey conducted with 1,743 participants between June 25 and June 29, 2023. Messages of hope were almost completely eclipsed; 64% of respondents are worried the nation is veering “down the wrong track,” a sentiment reaffirmed by both low and high-income earners. The sample size and methodology ensured a margin of error of just ± two percent, applying exact precision to otherwise hazy public sentiment.
The numbers are undoubtedly chilly reading, yet even more stark when compared to the results of the same survey a year ago. Then, 18% of citizens felt the nation was advancing in the correct direction as 77% expressed their disquiet, a sentiment that has grown incrementally more toxic since. These figures validate the skepticism established by a Convention of States Action/Trafalgar Group survey earlier this year, which found that seven in ten Americans believe the country is stuck in “cultural and economic decline.”
An eye-opening 72.5% of respondents believe that the country’s current condition is indicative of regression, while an optimistic 21.6% disagree, and the remaining 5.9% retreat into a state of uncertain ambivalence. These disheartening statistics are painted against a stark canvas of declining patriotism, as measured by the Wall Street Journal-NORC poll. The findings indicate that only 38% of Americans rank patriotism as “very important” to them—a drastic plummet compared to 61% in 2019 and 70% in 1998.
— Aaron Blake (@AaronBlake) March 27, 2023
Within a total count of 21%, the respondents affirmed that the United States “stands above all countries in the world,” while 50% extend diplomatic fairness in tagging it as “one of the greatest countries in the world, along with some others.” An astonishing 27% contend that “there are other countries better than the United States.” This counter-patriotic argument has risen eight percentage points from its 19% echelon back in 2016.
The USA, encased in celebratory fireworks’ smoke and reflective discontent, embodies a dichotomy as it approaches the Fourth of July. An air of unease prevails—a stark, manifest contrast to the image of a nation celebrated for its iconic bravery, democratic ideals, and pioneering spirit. The authoritative data gives us a hard look at the changing face of American optimism, setting the stage for an honest and potentially uncomfortable communal discourse about the country’s future.
Right on the eve of America’s birthday, these poll numbers prompt us to carefully survey our table bedecked with apple pie and grilled hamburgers. It forces us to question our vision for the nation’s trajectory, even as we commemorate its birth. It may very well be that the most patriotic act in these changing times is not merely to celebrate our shared history, but to engage in critical reflection about where we, as a people, want to steer our nation’s future.