Americans appear to be more negative about the economy than at any time in recent years, a poll conducted by The Wall Street Journal-National Opinion Research Center (NORC) found.
Eighty-three percent of respondents said the state of the economy was poor or not so good, WSJ reported Monday.
Thirty-five percent said they weren't satisfied at all with their financial situation.
Those numbers mark the highest level of dissatisfaction since NORC – a nonpartisan research organization at the University of Chicago that measures social attitudes – began asking the question every few years starting in 1972 as part of the General Social Survey.
(The poll's 4-point margin of error means that the new numbers might not differ significantly from prior highs and lows.)
A total of only 27%, 20-point drop from last year, said they had a good chance of improving their standard of living while 46% said they didn't.
A total of 38% said their financial situation had gotten worse in the past few years – the only time other than in the aftermath of the 2007-09 recession that more than three in 10 respondents said their finances were worse off, WSJ reported.
NORC Vice President Jennifer Benz said the poll results showed that high inflation – at an 8.3% annual rate in April and running at close to its fastest pace in four decades – was driving the bleak economic outlook.
The Wall Street Journal-NORC survey results were similar to those released Sunday from an ABC News/Ipsos poll in which 83% of Americans said the economy was either an extremely or very important issue in determining how they will vote in the upcoming midterm elections, and 80% said inflation also was an extremely or very important factor in how they will vote.
The WSJ-NORC poll also revealed a disheartened view of national unity and partisan splits over cultural issues.
A total of 86% of respondents said Americans were greatly divided when it comes to the most important values. More than half said they expected those divisions to worsen five years from now.
"In the prior years that we've asked this question, there's at least been some hope, a little bit more hope, that things might get better," Benz said. "That's a key difference underlying all of this right now."
WSJ said that in the past, a national crisis – e.g. 9/11 – unified the country.
"It's been the absolute opposite case with this crisis with COVID," NORC Senior Vice President Trevor Tompson told WSJ.
The WSJ-NORC poll showed that just 13% of respondents said they were optimistic that Americans who hold different political views could come together and solve the country's problems.
The survey also found that 64% of respondents said social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter were harmful for society because they emphasize differences between people.
The WSJ-NORC poll surveyed 1,071 adults from May 9-17.
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