The FINANCIAL -- Americans' satisfaction with the way things are going in the U.S. dropped in March from its recent high last month, as the post-State of the Union bump in enthusiasm faded and headlines were dominated by one of the deadliest shootings in U.S. history. The current 28% who say they are satisfied with the direction of the country is down eight percentage points from 36% in February, returning to where it was in January.
These data were collected in a March 1-8 Gallup poll, which found a sharp jump in mentions of guns and gun issues as the top problem facing the U.S. after a high school shooting in which 14 students and three school staff members were killed in Parkland, Florida, according to Gallup.
Last month, satisfaction reached its highest point in over a year, after President Donald Trump delivered his State of the Union address on Jan. 30. The president's approval rating also saw a slight uptick to 40% among U.S. adults and 90% among Republicans in late January and early February. But this bump in satisfaction has since evaporated, mostly because of a sharp decrease among Republicans in the March poll.
Currently, 52% of Republicans are satisfied with the way things are going in the U.S. -- down sharply from 67% last month. The double-digit decline in GOP satisfaction is almost as large as the 17-point tumble it took in June of last year, when the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee conducted hearings with former FBI Director James Comey, whom Trump had recently fired.
Republicans remain much more satisfied with the direction of the country than independents (25%) and Democrats (13%). Independents have become slightly less satisfied with the nation's course in the past month, whereas Democrats' satisfaction remains at the low level it has occupied for all of Trump's presidency so far.
Diminished levels of satisfaction with the path the country is on come after last month's Trump-era high point, suggesting that the rally effect his first State of the Union may have initially provided has faded.
News of the Parkland shooting likely affected overall satisfaction as well. Gallup has seen drops in satisfaction after other recent mass shootings, including after Las Vegas last October. Of the 10 largest mass shootings of the past decade, Gallup recorded statistically significant drops in satisfaction after seven of these events.