Americans more pessimistic about future, Biden support drops after Taliban takeover: polls

President Joe Biden participates in a conference phone call with governors affected by a snowstorm in the Midwest and southwest Feb. 16, 2021, in the Oval Office of the White House. | White House/Lawrence Jackson

New polls suggest that following the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, the American people are pessimistic about the future of the United States and the support for President Joe Biden has dropped to a record low since he took office.

A poll conducted over the weekend by the Trafalgar Group in conjunction with the conservative advocacy group Convention of States Action asked over 1,073 likely general election voters “how optimistic" they are about the future of America.

A majority of those surveyed, 52.8%, said that they were not optimistic, with 24% describing their outlook for the future as “not very optimistic” and a plurality of respondents (28.8%) telling the pollster they were “not optimistic at all.”

A little over 43% of Americans classified their views about the future as optimistic, with 16.6% claiming to be “very optimistic” and 27.1% describing themselves as “somewhat optimistic.”

Democrats had the highest level of enthusiasm about the future, with a plurality (34.3%) classifying their views about the future as “somewhat optimistic,” followed by 27.9% who felt “very optimistic” about the future.

A little over one-third of Democrats expressed pessimism about the future, with 20.2% reporting that they were “not very optimistic” and 14.9% saying that they were “not optimistic at all.”

Republicans had the highest degree of pessimism about the future, with 65.4% maintaining that they were “not optimistic” about the future of America. A strong plurality of respondents affiliated with the GOP (43.5%) were “not optimistic at all” while 21.9% indicated that they were “not very optimistic.”

Just 7.1% of Republicans felt “very optimistic” about the nation’s future, while 23.9% saw the future as “somewhat optimistic.”

Among those who either did not identify with one of the two major political parties or identified with a minor political party, optimism about the future stood at 32.8%, with 12.4% feeling “very optimistic” and 20.4% having a “somewhat optimistic” outlook. A plurality of independents (33.4%) were “not very optimistic” about the future, while 29.5% were “not optimistic at all.”

While the poll did not ask people to elaborate on why they felt pessimistic about the future, Convention of States Action President Mark Meckler attributed Americans’ grim outlook in last weekend's poll to Afghanistan and other issues.

“Americans are optimistic people. When both Republicans and Independents are tracking almost identically in registering a lack of optimism about our future — and a sizable group of Democrats feel the same way — there is a serious problem,” he said.

“From Afghanistan to COVID-19 to inflation to foreign policy to basic things like education, Washington DC is failing to solve challenges, and the people are losing hope,” Meckler added.

The Trafalgar poll surveyed respondents between Aug. 14 and Aug. 16 and has an error margin of plus or minus 2.99%.

Democrats constituted 39.3% of the poll’s respondents, followed by Republicans (35.6%) and “Non-Partisan/Other” (25.1%).

This week, the president’s approval rating has dropped below 50% for the first time since he took office in January, according to the Real Clear Politics average of polls.

Based on polls conducted between Aug. 7 and Aug. 19, the current Real Clear Politics average finds that 48.6% of Americans approve of the president’s job performance, compared to 48.2% who disapprove.

Biden’s average job approval first dropped below 50% Monday, and his current approval rating of 48.6% marks a record low since he took office. His Real Clear Politics average approval rating reached a record high of 55.7% on Apr. 7.

Additionally, Biden's FiveThirtyEight average approval rating has dropped to 48.9%, also falling below 50% for the first time on Monday. 

A poll conducted by Rasmussen Reports earlier this week found that “if the next presidential election were held today,” more likely voters would support former President Trump over President Biden.

The poll found that 43% of likely voters would back Trump in a hypothetical matchup while 37% would back Biden.

According to The Washington Examiner, the Rasmussen poll shows Trump performed better among women and African Americans in the hypothetical matchup than he did in the 2020 election.

While a plurality of the 1,000 likely voters surveyed by Rasmussen Reports would support Trump over Biden if the next presidential election took place today, most respondents said they do not regret supporting the candidate they voted for in the 2020 presidential election.

Overall, 89% of respondents said that they did not regret their 2020 vote. That number stood at 95% among Republicans and 87% among Democrats. The Washington Examiner reported that the survey sample included more Democrats than Republicans.

Another poll conducted by the Trafalgar Group found that nearly 70% of Americans disapproved of Biden’s handling of the situation in Afghanistan.

However, a Politico/Morning Consult poll suggests that a plurality of respondents (49%) support Biden's position to pull troops from Afghanistan. But that poll also shows that support for the pullout has fallen from 69% since April. 

The president has stood by his decision to withdraw American military presence from the South Asian country in an address to the nation Monday.

The withdrawal comes less than a month before the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, which prompted the U.S. to go into Afghanistan to prevent the country from serving as a haven for those who seek to plan future terrorist attacks.  

As previous polls have shown, Americans' optimism in the future of the U.S. can hinge on whether or not their particular party is in power. 

Just before the November 2020 election, a Morning Consult poll found that 62% of Republican respondents said they believed the nation is heading in the right direction. Meanwhile, 12% of Democrats said the same thing.

But in the days after the election, on Nov. 9, only 46% of Republicans said they believed the country is headed in the right direction. Meanwhile, the percentage of Democrats who thought the U.S. is headed in the right direction doubled. 

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at:

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