What the heck is going on? The Gallup polling people have just released a new survey saying Americans are more optimistic today than they’ve been in almost a decade.
More than six-out-of-ten Americans (61 percent) now say it is very or somewhat likely that today’s younger generation will have a better life than their parents.
That’s up nearly 50 percent from the disturbingly low proportion that felt that optimistic after three years of Barack Obama’s reign.
How can this possibly be?
In fact, the new survey of 1,503 adults found the proportion of Americans who feel optimistic about the future is up a stunning seven points just in the months since the election of 2016. The highest it’s ever been is 71 percent at the end of George W. Bush’s first year, despite 9/11 that fall.
Was there something, anything, that happened in these past 16 months to explain the country’s exploding hopefulness?
Well, Hillary Clinton isn’t president. The economy has picked up nicely to around three percent annual growth from years under one percent. Job growth has surged, 313,000 new workers in February alone.
The unemployment rate has dropped. The stock market boomed to numerous new heights in 2017 before some rocky recent days. Most Americans experienced tax cuts boosting disposable income.
And what about the president’s campaign promise to destroy ISIS “quickly”? After three years of ineffective holding actions, under the president’s revised command structure it took almost one year.
And who can forget this president’s threat to destroy the North Korean regime if it attacked the U.S. or any allies? Warmongering stuff if you read the media, which most people don’t. He even tightened the sanction screws.
Yes, sure, for the first time in a generation North Korea’s leader agreed to meet the president to talk about denuclearization, and in the meantime to stop missile and nuclear testing and also its threats over U.S. and South Korean joint exercises.
Fewer Americans read the daily news coverage of Washington. But if you did, you would likely be writing a suicide note, it sounds so bad there. The Republican Congress can’t get anything done, well, except for the largest tax cuts in history and the new bipartisan budget that starts restoring the military.
The White House is absolutely paralyzed by chaos and the daily soap opera comings-and-goings of staffers and Cabinet members. Obviously, that’s the only thing happening there. So, nothing gets done except, for example, killing dozens of regulations that crippled job creation. And the energy boom that’s underway, even with exports.
And those alleged scandals that draw blanket cable coverage because, sex. In one much-hyped Sunday evening episode a porn actress alleged that 12 years ago the president, then a private businessman, tried to pay her for consensual sex. If you can imagine such a thing.
True, the president’s job approval has climbed in recent weeks, now generally in the low to mid-40 percent range with disapproval hovering in the mid-50’s. That is historically awful for a president at this point.
Most everyone in the media predicts all its negative news will cause the bottom to fall out of his approval any day now. Of course, they predicted the same thing after countless other outrageous allegations in recent years. That hasn’t happened. But surely it will this time.
According to Gallup, in 31 states the president’s job approval among adults is above 40 percent and is a majority in 12 states, the highest being 61 percent in historically Democratic West Virginia.
Within his Republican base, the president’s job approval has climbed to 86 percent. For most of 2017 those who Strongly Approve of his job performance moved in the 50 percent range. Now, after all this negative media coverage and the huge spending bill he signed, Strongly Approve jumped to 61 percent.
So, there’s really no explanation for why after eight years of pessimism Americans are suddenly so optimistic about the future of their families and children. We’ll just have to live with that inexplicable puzzlement amid all the gloomy and doomy news we’d see if we read it.