Bob Unruh joined WND in 2006 after nearly three decades with the Associated Press, as well as several Upper Midwest newspapers, where he covered everything from legislative battles and sports to tornadoes and homicidal survivalists. He is also a photographer whose scenic work has been used commercially.More ↓Less ↑
Editor’s note: This is another in a series of “WND/WENZEL POLLS” conducted exclusively for WND by the public-opinion research and media consulting company Wenzel Strategies.
The elections have happened, the mandates have been delivered, and now we know where America is going, or so the campaign organizers would have you believe.
If so, it’s not good news for Barack Obama or members of Congress.
That’s because a new poll from Wenzel Strategies, a public-opinion research and media consulting company, shows a surge in the percentage of Americans who believe their nation is heading in the wrong direction.
The poll, conducted Nov. 28-Dec. 3 with a margin of error of 3.14 percentage points, shows that nearly 55 percent believe the nation is on the wrong track, and another 10 percent are not sure.
Only 35 percent say America is moving in the right direction, and that includes only 72 percent of Democrats. More than 90 percent of Republicans and some 75 percent of independents don’t reach that conclusion.
It represents a surge in doubt since a few weeks before the election, when only 50 percent said the nation was going the wrong direction and 41 percent said it was just fine.
Three months ago, 72 percent of Democrats thought America was moving the right direction, 13 percent of Republicans and 37 percent of independents. Today, while Democrats of that opinion were unchanged, only 9 percent of Republicans and 25 percent of independents believe the path chosen by the administration is right.
Fritz Wenzel, chief of Wenzel Strategies, told WND: “Now that the elections are over, it appears it is time to cue the malaise. Our latest polling shows Americans appear to be taking a long, serious look at just what is going on in America and are re-evaluating the world around them, and their verdict is not good.”
He said only one in three believes the nation is going the right direction, and 55 percent say it’s moving down the wrong track.
“There is only one way to describe this finding: awful,” he said.
Americans aren’t supporting Washington’s bid for new taxes and spending, either.
“As Washington fights over what to do with the federal finances, Americans have mostly made up their minds, our polling shows. Nearly three out of four said they believe Washington is spending too much money, while just 15 percent said they think the problem is that there isn’t enough taxation. Almost as many – 12 percent – said they weren’t sure,” he continued.
“And while Democrats in Washington stick hard and fast to the idea that taxes must be raised, far more Democrats than not across the country tell us that there is too much spending in Washington than think taxation is too low,” Wenzel said. “Almost half – 48 percent – of Democrats said they think spending is too high, while just 26 percent said they think taxation is too low.”
If Obama appears not to be listening to his own party, the shouts from the GOP are further ignored.
“For Republicans, 93 percent said spending is too high, while just 5 percent said taxation is too low. Among independent voters, 77 percent said there is too much federal spending, compared to 15 percent who said taxation is too low,” he said.
The message is clear for the GOP, he said.
“Given these findings, it is hard to imagine Republicans in Congress would consider giving in to White House pressure to hike taxation and act against the will of the people. But then, it’s Washington,” he said.
He said, however, that Americans are a nation of confidence and optimism, because despite the headwinds in the economy, and the political strategies to create more, they have some confidence that the situation will get better – or at least can’t get much worse.
“The findings in our polling that shows why, despite a very weak economy that faces tremendous headwinds in 2013, America is such a great country: its people are eternally optimistic, even when there is no reason whatsoever for optimism. A majority of Americans – 56 percent – said they believe the economy will get better over the next 12 years. Just 37 percent said they think things will get worse, while 5 percent said they think things will stay the same.”
He continued: “What might be most discouraging about this finding is that there is such an enormous partisan split on a decidedly non-political question like this: while 82 percent of Democrats said they think the economy will improve, just 36 percent of Republicans agree. We all live in the same economy, and yet we possess dramatically different opinions about one of the most important factors that control our lives. The more liberal the respondent, the more optimistic they were about the economy’s immediate prospects.”