Americans' Satisfaction Almost as Low as It Was Under Carter

President in trouble if only 22 percent of Americans are pleased with the state of the union.

By SHARE

It's February, nine months before a presidential election, and only 22 percent of Americans say they are satisfied with the way things are going. Voters haven't been this unhappy with the country since George H.W. Bush's presidency, when only 21 percent of Americans reported being happy with the country's direction. And before that, the lowest approval rating was 19 percent during Jimmy Carter's first term.

What do the two presidencies have in common? Neither of them won re-election. And, if the trends holds true, Obama looks to be in an equally precarious situation. [Read about the 10 Worst Presidents.]

The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research released its 2012 campaign outlook, and it's clear Obama's sitting in the same position George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter were in during the February before their election losses—voters don't feel good about the country.

Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, and George W. Bush—presidents who won re-election—all had at least 41 percent of voters optimistic with the state of the union.

  • Ken Walsh: Historians Rank George W. Bush Among Worst Presidents
  • See a slide show of 10 things Obama can learn from Clinton.
  • Read the U.S. News debate: Can Anything Stop Mitt Romney?