Even as the economic outlook brightens a bit, Americans’ view of the nation’s future, its leaders and its fundamental promise have darkened.
PITTSBURGH — Remember that wave of optimism and good feeling that typically greets a presidential inauguration, not to mention a new year?
This time, it’s hard to find.
Battered by an economy that is only slow recovering — and soured by the spectacle of Washington dysfunction in the “fiscal cliff” debate — views of the nation’s future and its fundamental promise have darkened in the four years since Barack Obama’s first inauguration.
Then, even during an unfolding financial crisis, Americans believed by a double-digit margin that it was likely young people would have a better life than their parents, one facet of the classic American dream. Now, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds they’re narrowly inclined to say that’s not likely. By 50%-47%, respondents say the country’s best years are behind us.
“I’m pessimistic about where the country is and where it’s going,” says Rick Rogoff, 55, the owner of a small food-service company here, ticking off the reasons why. “From the cost of living to the quality of health care to inflation to the politics of the country — the partisanship, it’s endless. I’m not really a pessimist. I’m a realist. I look at the situation and it’s hard to find things that are good.”
Even those with a more upbeat perspective sound less than confident. “I’m optimistic,” Tamera Bryant, 39, the auditor for a non-profit organization, says of Obama’s next four years, “but I think it’s going to be a fight.” Continue reading “2013? Poll finds Americans weary and wary”