Poll: 23% happy with direction of nation

Poll: 23% happy with direction of nation

Remember that wave of optimism and good feeling that typically greets a presidential inauguration, not to mention a new year?

This time, it’s hard to find.

Battered by an economy that is only slow recovering — and soured by the spectacle of Washington dysfunction in the “fiscal cliff” debate — views of the nation’s future and its fundamental promise have darkened in the four years since Barack Obama’s first inauguration.

Then, even during an unfolding financial crisis, Americans believed by a double-digit margin that it was likely young people would have a better life than their parents, one facet of the classic American dream. Now, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds they’re narrowly inclined to say that’s not likely. By 50%-47%, respondents say the country’s best years are behind us.

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