A Very Unhappy Country

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Gallup today reports an astounding number: Only 9% of Americans say they are satisfied with the direction of the country, by far the lowest such reading in the history of the poll, which has been asking this question since the late 1970s:

The previous low point for Gallup’s measure of satisfaction had been 12%, recorded back in 1979, in the midst of rising prices and gas shortages when Jimmy Carter was president. Gallup has recorded a 14% satisfaction level at several points — once in the senior Bush’s administration in 1992, and several times earlier this year.

The reason for Americans’ extraordinarily low level of satisfaction is straightforward: the economy. Asked in the weekend Gallup Poll to name the most important problem facing the country today, almost 7 in 10 Americans mentioned some aspect of the economy, far ahead of any other problem mentioned.