Poll: Voter optimism hits new Trump-era low amid protests and pandemic

A new Morning Consult/Politico poll, conducted May 29-June 1, found 31 percent of voters believe the United States is headed in the right direction, while 69 percent said it has “pretty seriously” gotten off on the wrong track. The gap between the two figures, at 38 percentage points, is the widest measured in all of the 171 weekly polls conducted since Trump took office in January 2017, and has only been topped by two polls conducted in 2016 following his November election…

At this point in Barack Obama’s presidency ahead of his 2012 re-election, 58 percent of voters said the country was on the wrong track and 34 percent said it was headed in the right direction, according to a RealClearPolitics average. Those numbers improved ahead of the November contest, particularly on the “right direction” side. A Morning Consult survey from June 2016 found just 28 percent of voters believed the country was headed in the right direction.

Andrea Benjamin, an associate professor at the University of Oklahoma, said things like job approval, partisanship and voters’ economic standing are better predictors of electoral outcomes than voter optimism, but that the shift in sentiment reflects larger concerns among voters regarding government and the two crises, whether they be directed at the local, state or federal level.