PRINCETON, NJ — Throughout 2011, an average of 17% of Americans said they were satisfied with the way things are going in the United States. That is the second-lowest annual average in the more than 30-year history of the question, after the 15% from 2008. Satisfaction has averaged as high as 60% in 1986, 1998, and 2000.
The 2011 average includes 15% satisfaction from a Dec. 15–18 Gallup poll, which is a slight improvement from readings of 11% as recently as September. During the year, satisfaction ranged from lows of 11% in August and September to a high of 26% in May, recorded after the United States military found and killed Osama bin Laden.