A Gallup poll released today showed that just 9% of Americans are satisfied with the way things are going in the United States. As shown in the top chart below (from gallup.com), this is the lowest reading in history. Mid-1992 and mid-1979 were prior lows for the poll, but this is the first time satisfaction has dropped below 10%. These low levels are usually indicative that change is coming, and politically, that's just what we got in 1980 (Reagan) and 1992 (Clinton). There's no reason to believe the outcome will be any different in this election either at this point.
What caught our eye about the historical "satisfaction" chart, however, is the fact that it has been on the decline for most of this decade. One would think the "satisfaction" chart would be somewhat correlated to stock market returns, and it pretty much was from 1980 to 2000. But as the stock market rose during the bull market from 10/02 to 10/07, "satisfaction" levels continued to decline sharply. Whether you agree with it or not, this makes a strong case for the "wealth gap" and "shadow rally" arguments that have dominated the economic debate this election cycle.
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