Poll: Just 17 percent of Americans are satisfied with the direction the country is headed

We’re a nation of discontents, apparently. According to Gallup, U.S. satisfaction in 2011 ranks as the second lowest since 1979.

Throughout 2011, an average of 17 percent of Americans said they were satisfied with the direction of the country. The percentage of satisfied Americans reached a low point of 11 percent in August and September (right about the time the debt ceiling drama concluded) and a high point of 26 percent in May (right after the death of Osama bin Laden).

The average of 17 percent is higher only than the average of 15 percent of Americans who said they were satisfied throughout 2008. In 1986, 1998 and 2000, an average of 60 percent of Americans said they were content with the country’s current course.

Politico’s MJ Lee points out the obvious: The economy is a prime suspect for the source of the dissatisfaction.

The dissatisfaction among Americans may stem largely from the country’s economic situation — almost 2 out of 3 chose an economic issue as the most important problem facing the country.

Twenty-six percent named the economy in general, 25 percent mentioned the issue of unemployment and jobs, 16 percent chose dissatisfaction with the government and politicians while 12 percent said the biggest problem was the federal budget deficit.

Still, the economy isn’t the only culprit. Americans also cited moral and ethical decline as a major problem that faces the nation. Change in that area, thankfully, doesn’t require political action. All we gotta do is brew up a little life-affirming culture, person to person.