The satisfaction rate, which Gallup has measured at least monthly since 2001, has now topped 35% three times this year -- a level reached only three times in the previous 12 years (once each in 2006, 2009 and 2016).
Satisfaction with the nation is now back to the historical average of 37% for this trend, which was first measured in 1979, but is far below the majority levels reached in the economic boom times of the mid-1980s and late 1990s.
The rise in satisfaction over the past two months comes amid a spate of positive economic news -- including the shrinking of the unemployment rate to levels last seen in 2000 and the continuation of an economic expansion that is now the second longest on record. Other prominent national news stories have included independent counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian collusion; President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw the United States from the Iran nuclear deal; and Trump's negotiations with North Korea that culminated in his meeting Tuesday with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Though the vast majority of Americans have expressed pride in their country in polls stretching back more than 30 years, their pride has not meant they were satisfied with the way things were going. This has been especially true during times of economic duress -- though measuring the public's satisfaction with the nation encompasses far more than economics.
|President Trump Approval Ratings|
Now, at the midpoint of 2018, as the United States continues to enjoy a nine-year-long economic expansion, the number of Americans finding satisfaction in the country's direction is on the rise. This reflects more than a growing comfort with Donald Trump as president; growth in satisfaction has outstripped growth in Trump's approval rating. And it is more than economic good news -- the percentage satisfied has risen more over the past two months than the percentage who think the economy is in good shape or the percentage who think it's a good time to find a quality job.
As the nation moves toward November's midterm elections, as the Mueller investigation continues to unfold, as Trump continues to surprise both friends and foes with his actions, there are a multitude of possibilities for news that could affect satisfaction significantly in either direction.