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Majority of voters say U.S. heading in the wrong direction


Sixty-two percent of voters say the U.S. is moving in the wrong direction in advance of the 2024 election, according to a new poll, but the responses show it depends on who is answering the question.

The Center Square Voters’ Voice Poll, conducted in conjunction with Noble Predictive Insights, show stark differences between how Democrats and Republicans see things across the nation as Donald Trump and Joe Biden prepare for a re-match this November.

Among all likely voters, 62% said things were moving in the wrong direction, while 29% said things were moving in the right direction and 9% were unsure.

The breakdowns offer a more nuanced look at how voters are thinking.

Among Republicans, 10% of likely voters said things were headed the right way. Among Democrats, 51% of likely voters said things were headed the right way. For True Independents, those who don’t lean toward either major party, 22% said things were going the right way compared to 65% who said things were headed in the wrong direction.

“Republicans and Democrats are living in different realities,” David Byler of Noble Predictive Insights told The Center Square. “Republicans see inflation, the border, and other issues and conclude that the country is tremendously off track. Many Democrats look at Biden’s governance, see what he’s doing given the problems and register the exact opposite reaction.”

Income wasn’t much of a factor. Likely voters earning less than $50,000 a year saw things pretty much the same as those making more than $100,000. Race and where people live provided more contrast.

Among white voters, 66% said things were headed the wrong way. Among Hispanic voters, it was 59% and among Black voters, it was 35%.

Among urban voters, 51% said things were headed in the wrong direction. Suburban voters, a key group, were more convinced, with 63% reporting things headed in the wrong direction. And among rural voters, 74% said things were going in the wrong direction.

Byler said that could spell trouble for Biden.

“These numbers aren’t good for Biden,” he said. “In a re-election campaign, he’ll have to convince voters that they’re better off than four years ago and that he’s steering the country in the correct direction.”

But there’s more to it.

“That being said, Democrats won many of the voters who were upset about the country’s direction and Biden’s leadership in the midterms,” Byler said. “There’s a challenge for Biden here – but it may not be quite as insurmountable as the headline ‘wrong direction’ number suggests.”

The poll of 2,510 voters included 1,044 Republicans, 1,126 Democrats and 340 true independents. It was conducted March 11-15 and has a margin of error of +/- 2%.