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Americans' satisfaction with U.S. drops sharply

Staff Writer |
Americans' satisfaction with the way things are going in the U.S. dropped 12 percentage points in the past month, amid high-profile police killings of black men and mass shootings of police.

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Currently, 17% of Americans are satisfied with the state of affairs in the U.S.

Satisfaction is the lowest it has been nationwide since October 2013, when Republican members in Congress led a federal government shutdown. For the past two years, satisfaction has been in the 20s and 30s, with low points of 20% in December 2015 and November 2014.

This 12-point drop in one month is tied for the largest decrease in satisfaction since Gallup started asking satisfaction monthly in 2001. The previous largest decrease during this period was also 12 points in October 2008, as the financial crisis was taking hold.

These data are from Gallup's latest monthly reading of Americans' satisfaction, taken July 13-17.

Between the June reading and now, the U.S. has been rocked by deadly shootings of black men by police in Louisiana and Minnesota, and the targeted killing of police at a protest in Dallas.

Also since the last survey, a gunman killed 49 people in a gay nightclub in Orlando. World news has not offered much solace, with a terrorist attack across the Atlantic in Nice, France, involving a truck ramming into a crowd on Bastille Day in mid-July, killing 84.

The same July poll finds a surge in concern about race relations and racism, after the several recent incidents of violence between police and black men.

In the July 13-17 update, 18% of Americans say race relations or racism is the most important problem facing the nation, a jump of 13 points in the past month.

Since 2000, mentions of race have only once previously been in double digits - in December 2014, when 13% mentioned race as the top problem facing the nation.

Race was infrequently mentioned as the top problem facing the nation from 1970 through 2000, with the exception of May 1992, a week after the Rodney King verdicts in Los Angeles, when 15% mentioned race as the top problem.


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