(NEW YORK) -- Optimism in the country’s system of government has dropped to a new 36-year low, and the public’s sense that the U.S. is the greatest nation on Earth, while still high, has fallen significantly from its level a generation ago.
Both results in the latest ABC News/Yahoo! News poll, in advance of next week’s midterm elections, suggest that public disenchantment extends beyond its economic and political roots to encompass broader views of the country’s governance and American exceptionalism alike.
While 75 percent of Americans still call the U.S.,“the greatest country in the world,” the percentage has dropped from the 88 percent who answered the same question in 1984. And nearly a quarter, 23 percent, now take the alternative, saying America used to be the greatest country, “but isn’t any more.” That’s up from nine percent.
Optimism about the system has taken an even bigger hit in this poll, produced for ABC and Yahoo! News by Langer Research Associates. Back in 1974, 55 percent of Americans were optimistic about “our system of government and how well it works.” Today, just 33 percent say so, the fewest in nearly a dozen measurements across the decades.
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