Americans' evaluations of their own lives are at a 13-month low, according to Gallup. The drop is driven by Republicans and independents. Democrats have become slightly more positive about their lives.
Gallup's Life Evaluation Index is at 47.2, on a scale of zero to 100, and has declined for three straight months. The LEI measures how Americans feel about their current and future lives.
While the LEI is the lowest it has been in 13 months, it remains much higher than January 2009, after the financial collapse in October 2008, that led to the Great Recession. The 37.3 LEI score that month was the lowest, by far since Gallup began tracking the LEI in January 2008. The high point for the LEI was January 2011, when it was at 51.
The partisan split in the scores demonstrates that there is a relationship between election outcomes, party identification and personal life evaluations. Among Republicans, the LEI score dropped to 40.3. It was 47 in October. The score dropped among independents too, though not as much, to 43.8. The life evaluations of Democrats, on the other hand, increased from 53.7 in October to 56.9 in November.
The LEI scores of Democrats and Republicans were about the same through most of Obama's term, but began to diverge around February of this year. The current difference between Republicans and Democrats -- 16.6 points -- is the largest it has ever been.
The LEI is based upon two questions -- how one thinks about their current life and how one thinks their life will be in about five years. The decline in Republican's LEI score is due entirely to their rating on the second question -- how they think their future life will be.
The current steady decline in the overall score is similar to what happened in August and September of 2011, which was during a debt ceiling debate and a downgrade of the U.S. credit rating.
The Nov. 1-30 survey has a sample of 30,294 adults. The margin of error is plus or minus one percentage point.