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Gallup: American Optimism Hits Lowest Point Since Carter Administration

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American opinion of the country's state of affairs is at its lowest point since 1979, a new Gallup poll finds. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

American opinion of the country’s state of affairs is at its lowest point since 1979, a new Gallup poll finds. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (CBS DC) – Fewer than four-in-10 Americans (39 percent) rate the US in a positive manner – the most negative feedback the country has produced since 1979.

A new Gallup poll finds that Americans are as negative about the country’s prospects as they have been in more than three decades. Americans are more upbeat in their predictions of where the U.S. will be in five years (48 percent positive), but this is the lowest rating since an August 1979 Gallup poll was conducted.

The negativity about the current state of the US has a politically partisan split – Republicans stated that the country’s best days have already passed and Democrats say the best days have not happened yet. Seventy-five percent of Democrats gave positive reviews of how the nation will be five years from now, but only 15 percent of Republicans were positive – a 60 percent partisan gap.

As a whole, fifty-five percent of Americans say the state of the nation five years ago was positive.

This most recent data was included in Gallup’s Mood of the Nation survey, which was conducted from Jan. 7-10 of this year. The information based on a ladder scale question Gallup has used periodically since 1959. This question asks Americans to rate their feelings about the country presently, in five years, and five years ago using a zero to 10 scale in which zero equals the worst possible situation and 10 equals the best possible situation.

The 39 percent of Americans who give a six to 10 rating when asked to evaluate the nation’s current status is similar to the 37 percent who said the same three years ago. These ratings of current conditions coincide with Americans’ assessment of satisfaction with the way things are going in the U.S., which is only at 25 percent in the same poll and below the historical average satisfaction rating.

The three previous points in time when ratings were as low as or lower than the 2013 rating were in August 1979 (34 percent), April 1974 (33 percent), and January 1971 (39 percent).

In the past, assessments have been more positive – 73 percent of Americans gave positive ratings in January 2001, which was the highest rating in Gallup poll history.

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