- The Washington Times - Monday, January 24, 2022

Majorities of Americans think the U.S. is heading in the wrong direction and they use words like “downhill,” “divisive,” “negative,” “struggling,” “lost” and “bad” to describe it, according to an NBC News that finds a doleful outlook around the country.

Americans say their income is falling behind the cost of living and that political polarization will likely continue. Interest in the midterm elections is down as people sour on politicians in both parties.

Pollsters said Democrats enjoyed a 1-point advantage over Republicans, 47%-46% when they asked people which party should control Congress after the November contests.

However, President Biden’s approval ratings are stuck in the low 40s and Republicans enjoy a double-digit lead in enthusiasm — 61% of Republicans are very interested in the upcoming elections compared to 47% of Democrats.

Some of the biggest drops for Democrats have come from Black voters, young voters and urban voters.

“There is nothing but flashing red lights and warning signs for Democrats,” Bill McInturff of Public Opinion Strategies, a Republican pollster who worked on the survey with Democratic pollster Jeff Horwitt of Hart Research Associates, told NBC.

All told, 72% of Americans say the country is heading in the wrong direction, a bad sign for the party in power in an election year.

Six in 10 people said their income is falling behind costs of living, even though job creation is improving and unemployment is down, compared to 30% who say they’re breaking even and 7% who say their income is rising faster.

Seven in 10 people said the nation is so polarized it can’t come together to solve major problems and 76% said democracy is threatened.

Mr. Biden had a negative-9 rating in a popularity test, with 39% seeing him in a positive light and 48% viewing him negatively.

Former President Donald Trump received 37% positive-51% negative review and Vice President Kamala Harris had a negative-17 split, 32% to 49%.

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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