While a slim majority of registered voters nationally have a positive opinion of President Barack Obama’s job performance, the attitude of the national electorate toward how Congress is doing its job remains sour. On the whole, many Americans have a pessimistic view of the direction of the nation, a sentiment reflected in their opinions about their financial situation. While a majority of Americans say their family finances will remain the same in the upcoming year, there has been a dip in those who believe their financial picture will improve. Additionally, nearly six in ten U.S. residents assert future generations will be worse off financially.
51% of registered voters approve of the job President Obama is doing in office, and 43% disapprove. President Obama’s approval rating is significantly better than those of the Republicans and Democrats in Congress. More than seven in ten voters, 72%, disapprove of the job performance of the Republicans in Congress, and 55% have a negative opinion of how congressional Democrats are doing their job. On each of these questions, there has been little change since McClatchy-Marist last reported them in April.
Looking at Americans’ opinions toward the direction of the nation, 68% of residents think the country is moving in the wrong direction while 25% say it is moving in the right one. In the spring, nearly identical proportions of Americans had these views.
While a majority of Americans, 56%, say their personal family finances will remain about the same in the coming year, 28% report their financial situation will get better. 17% say it will get worse. While there has been a slight downtick in the proportion of residents who think their family finances will improve, residents are not increasingly negative about their money matters. When this question was last asked in the fall, 33% of Americans said their finances would get better, 15% reported they would deteriorate, and 52% thought they would remain about the same.
Americans under 45 years of age, 37%, are nearly twice as likely as those who are older, 19%, to have an optimistic view of their personal family finances. Men, 31%, are also more likely than women, 24%, to think their finances will improve in the next year. Women, 60%, are more likely than men, 52%, to say their financial outlook will reflect its current state. Racial differences also exist. Only 18% of white residents say their finances will improve compared with 41% of Latinos and 48% of African Americans.
A majority of adults nationally, 57%, think future generations will be worse off financially than people today. 19% say younger Americans will be better off, and about one in four, 24%, believes their financial picture will be about the same as this generation. Republicans, 72%, are more likely than Democrats, 41%, and independents, 61%, to report future generations will be worse off. Americans 45 years of age or older, 61%, are more likely than younger residents to believe America’s youth will be in a worse financial spot. Still, a majority of those under 45, 52%, have this view. White residents, 63%, are more likely than African Americans, 40%, and Latinos, 36%, to say future generations will be worse off financially than their elders.