Pew Poll: 71% of Americans Are 'Dissatisfied' With Direction of the Country; Less Than Half Think 2015 Will Be a Better Year

(Photo: Reuters/Larry Downing)U.S. President Barack Obama pauses while talking about the Affordable Care Act in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, November 14, 2013. Obama bowed to political pressure from his fellow Democrats on Thursday and announced a plan to let insurers renew for one year the health plans for Americans whose policies would be otherwise canceled due to Obamacare.

A whopping 71 percent of Americans are dissatisfied with the direction the country is going in, and less than half of those polled, 49 percent, believe this year will be better than 2014, while 42 percent actually believe it will be worse.

"The public remains deeply dissatisfied with the way things are going in the country. Just 26 percent are satisfied with national conditions, while 71 percent are dissatisfied," according to a poll released by the Pew Research Center this week. "The current ratings are more pessimistic than in recent years, as the public generally takes an optimistic view of the year to come."

News isn't any better for both political parties, as Pew found that the percentage of Democrats who believe the new year will be better than the year before has taken a nose dive.

Democrat respondents who believe the new year will be better than the year before was at 60 percent, a 21 point decline from last year when the poll was taken.

The Pew findings noted that in December 2013, 81 percent of Democrats believed that 2014 would be a better year.

Alec Tyson of Pew credits the November midterm elections as the likely lead factor in the 21-point drop in optimism for the coming year among Democrats.

"With the Republican Party having gained full control of Congress, 60 percent of Democrats expect 2015 to be better than 2014 — a drop of 21 points from a year ago when 81 percent thought 2014 would be better than 2013."

Over 80 percent of those polled said the country is more politically divided now than in past years, and 78 percent believe Americans will remain so over the next five years or become even more divisive.

In November, Republicans gained several electoral victories that secured their control of the U.S. Senate for the first time since 2006.

By election night, Senate seats in Arkansas, Colorado, Montana, South Dakota and West Virginia switched from Democrat to Republican.

Later on, Alaska's election results were counted and it joined the list as Republican challenger Dan Sullivan defeated incumbent Democrat Mark Begich.

In December, Republicans gained yet another seat when Republican challenger Bill Cassidy defeated Democratic incumbent Senator Mary Landrieu in a runoff election.

On the evening of his successful reelection bid, Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell, soon-to-be majority leader in the Senate, expressed hope for the future.

"So, friends, tonight turns a corner. And the future I see is a bright one. Americans have seen that what the current crowd in Washington is offering," said McConnell.

Despite McConnell's words, according to Tyson of Pew, the sentiments of Republicans surveyed in the research found them to be more pessimistic than Democrats with little change in their views from the year before.

"Nonetheless, views among Democrats are brighter than those of Republicans: just 34 percent of Republicans expect the coming year to be better than the last, little changed from prospective views of 2014 (33 percent better)," he wrote.

"In December 2012, following President Barack Obama's reelection, just 22 percent of Republicans thought 2013 would be a better year than 2012."

The findings of the research were based off of responses from telephone interviews conducted Dec. 3-7, 2014, among approximately 1,500 adults aged 18 and older.