Americans Are Getting Pessimistic…

…which shows that they are paying attention. A just-released ABC News/Ipsos poll finds that most Americans are now gloomy about our prospects for the coming year:

As President Joe Biden completed 100 days in office, the country was optimistic about the coming year, but now, just after hitting the six-month mark, Americans’ optimism about the direction of the country has plummeted nearly 20 points, a new ABC News/Ipsos poll finds.

A majority — 55% — of the public say they are pessimistic about the direction of the country, a marked change from the roughly one-third (36%) that said the same in an ABC News/Ipsos poll published May 2. In the early May survey, Americans were more optimistic than pessimistic by a 28-percentage point margin. Optimism is now under water by 10 points. Looking ahead to the next 12 months, fewer than half — 45% — now report feeling optimistic about the way things are going, a significant drop from about two-thirds (64%) in the May poll.

ABC News attributes the drop in optimism largely to the Indian covid variant, which has caused renewed concern about coronaviruses. Perhaps that is a factor, but I think the rapidly rising cost of living, with the prospect of more inflation to come, is a bigger one. The reality is that our country’s main problems are getting worse, not better. There are several good reasons to be pessimistic about the near future.

Obviously, much could change between now and November 2022. A war could break out; Joe Biden could die or his disability could be acknowledged via the 25th Amendment. But as things stand now, the three biggest issues in next year’s election will be: 1) the cost of living; 2) crime; and 3) critical race theory. All three of those issues represent areas where the U.S. has gone rapidly downhill over the last year, and where the Democrats’ policies are patently making things worse.

In general, pessimism in any country is a bad thing. But when that pessimism is objectively justified and can lead to a change in policy direction, it can only be welcome.

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