Americans are more satisfied with their lives than they have been since last summer, a new Gallup poll shows. The news is not all good. Satisfaction rates are still low compared to historic numbers. It may be that the improvement in unemployment has helped fuel the improvement, or the renewal of tax cuts, or news in the media that the economy has improve. However, a number of national polls show that many Americans believe that the latest recession never ended. That must be particularly true for the unemployed, the under-employed and people who have not gotten raises for years.
Twenty-six percent of Americans are now satisfied with the way things are going in the country, up from 22% in February and 18% in January. Satisfaction has not been this high since last May when it previously hit 26% — buoyed by the death of Osama bin Laden — and before that, April 2010 when it was 27%.
The recent increase in Americans’ satisfaction with the country mirrors improvement in public confidence in the economy, with the Gallup Economic Confidence Index rising from -25 in late February and early March to -18 last week. Likewise, President Barack Obama’s overall job approval rating has moved into the high 40s in recent Gallup Daily tracking.
It is not a shock that the poll shows a concern about rising gas prices, which by themselves could turn the Gallup numbers back downward
Methodology: Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted March 8-11, 2012, with a random sample of 1,024 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.