Two-thirds of registered voters now say the country is off on the wrong track

Linley SandersData Journalist
October 31, 2020, 4:00 PM UTC

With less than a week until the presidential election, about two-thirds (65%) of registered voters believe that America is on the wrong track. 

Nine in 10 Democrats (90%) believe the nation is on the wrong track — as do seven in 10 Independents, according to the latest Economist/YouGov Poll. Only about one in four (28%) Republicans say the same; about two-thirds (64%) of GOPers believe America is generally headed in the right direction. 

Registered voters are now more likely to believe the country is off on the wrong track than when President Donald Trump took office in January 2017. At that time, about half (52%) of registered voters believed the nation was headed in the wrong direction, compared to three-quarters of Democrats (78%), half of Independents (48%), and 28% of Republicans.  

The percentage of registered voters who disagree with how things in America are going reached its highest levels in mid-July for Republicans (55%) and registered voters (72%). At that time, the country hit record levels of daily coronavirus cases and was reckoning with national protests over police brutality.  

A majority of registered voters (56%) now say that America was better off four years ago, while only one-third (35%) say it is better off today. Democrats are especially likely (86%) to believe the country was in a better place at the end of Barack Obama’s second term, whereas three-quarters (75%) of Republicans believe it is better off today. 

See the toplines and crosstabs from this week’s Economist/YouGov Poll 

Methodology: The Economist survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,500 registered voters interviewed online between October 25 - 27, 2020. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on the American Community Survey, conducted by the US Bureau of the Census, as well as 2016 Presidential vote, registration status, geographic region, and news interest. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all US citizens. The margin of error is approximately 3.1% for the overall sample.  

Image: Getty