The last time 40% or more of Americans were satisfied, George W. Bush was in the first year of his second term as president. The Iraq War was ongoing, but some of the challenging events that plagued Bush in his second term — Hurricane Katrina, consistent majority opposition to the Iraq War, high gas prices and the economic recession — had yet to occur.
The higher level of satisfaction measured in the Jan. 2-15 Gallup poll comes at a time when Americans’ evaluations of the U.S. economy are the best they have been in nearly two decades, perhaps because of continued low unemployment and record stock values.
Americans are typically more satisfied with the state of the nation when their political party affiliation matches that of the sitting president. Consistent with this pattern, 72% of Republicans are currently satisfied with the way things are going in the U.S., compared with 14% of Democrats. Thirty-seven percent of independents are satisfied.