Jump in satisfaction among Democrats coincident with healthcare bill's passage
PRINCETON, NJ -- Americans have grown more satisfied with the way things are going in the United States over the past month, fueled by a jump in satisfaction among Democrats and a smaller increase among independents. Republicans remain largely dissatisfied.
The substantial uptick in satisfaction among Democrats follows the House's passage of the new healthcare bill on March 21 and President Obama's signing the bill into law on March 23 (Obama signed the revised healthcare bill on March 30). Democrats' satisfaction had dropped from readings in the mid-40% range last fall to 29% in early March. By the time of Gallup's March 26-28 survey this year, Democrats' satisfaction had begun to move back up; it has recovered to the current 49% in Gallup's April 8-11 survey.
There has been less variation in satisfaction among independents and Republicans over this same time period. Independents' satisfaction inched up in April compared to March.
Republicans' satisfaction with the way things are going in the U.S. is unchanged over the period that includes the passage of the new healthcare bill, with essentially identical readings of 10% to 11% in March and April.
The upward shift in satisfaction among Democrats (and, to a lesser degree, among independents) was enough to increase the nation's overall satisfaction reading to 27% in April, up from 23% in late March and 19% in early March.
From a longer-range perspective, the current increase in satisfaction represents a reversal of the decline that began last fall. In August 2009, satisfaction was at 36%, in turn the highest reading since January 2006. The all-time lowest level of satisfaction in Gallup's 31-year history of this measure -- 7% -- occurred in October 2008.
While it is impossible to pinpoint the exact cause of changes in broad measures such as satisfaction, it is reasonable to assume that the jump in satisfaction among Democrats over the last month directly reflects the passage of the new healthcare bill. All previous Gallup research has shown that Democrats have been overwhelmingly in favor of the new healthcare legislation.
This same research has shown that Republicans have been overwhelmingly opposed to the new legislation. The finding of little change in Republicans' satisfaction over the last month may reflect the fact that there is little room for further deterioration in Republicans' already very low satisfaction levels.
Click here for the complete Gallup trend on satisfaction with the way things are going in the United States.
Results are based on telephone interviews with 1,020 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted April 8-11, 2010. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points.
Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones (for respondents with a landline telephone) and cellular phones (for respondents who are cell phone only).
In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.