Despite significant legislative achievements in the face of a global pandemic, a year into his presidency, Joe Biden’s standing among the American people is diminished. Taking a look at the country beyond The White House, “downhill,” “divided,” “doubting democracy,” “falling behind,” and “tuning out” are the best phrases to describe how Americans feel today. When asked to describe America today, “downhill” is the word that both Republicans and Democrats agree upon as a leading descriptor. And this marks the sixth time in the NBC News Poll’s history that we have had at least two tracks in a row where at least 70% of Americans believe that things are off on the wrong track. One could easily draw a straight line to COVID through these findings. However, this Omicron wave feels different in the eyes of the American public. The survey comes at a critical moment. We have yet another COVID wave, but for the first time during the crest of the wave, Americans see a path forward and are more likely to see the worst of COVID behind us. But the view that the worst is behind us is not due to a vote of confidence in our leaders; in fact, trust has dropped across the board, with Americans being more likely to trust their employer or, for parents, their child’s school, than other state or national entities.
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