Americans are pessimistic about the direction of the country and wary of the chances of progress, a new USA Today/Gallup poll has found.
Exactly half of surveyed Americans believe that the nation's best days are behind it, USA Today reports.
Three in four Americans surveyed believe that "the way politics works in Washington is causing serious harm to the country," indicating a collapse in faith in Congress and the federal government in the wake of the debt ceiling negotiation and fiscal cliff negotiation in the years since the previous surveys.
A focus group conducted after the poll found that Americans were divided on Obama but united in disdain for Congress, with four to one disapproving of the legislative body's performance.
The poll was taken from December 14-17 and contacted 1,025 adults. Americans were decidedly less excited about Obama's election than they were in 2008, but support still remains.
According to USA Today:
There is wariness about the impact his second-term policies will have: 35% predict they will make their own financial situations better; 42% say they will make them worse.
But there is some positive news. The percentage of people who are satisfied with the country's course has nearly doubled to 23% since four years ago.
Here are some of the other mixed findings:
By 2-1, those surveyed expect this year to be one of economic difficulty, not one of prosperity. A majority say employment will improve and inflation will be under control. But more than eight in 10 also say taxes and the crime rate will rise. Three of four predict a "troubled year" of international discord, not a peaceful one. Most believe American power around the globe will decline.
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