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Poll: Most Americans feel the country is on the wrong track

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2016 has come to a close and, both politically and otherwise, 2017 sees a lot of changes on the horizon for the American people.

Thinking of the country as a whole, nearly seven in 10 Americans say that things in the country have pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track (68 percent). Regardless of political party affiliation, a majority of Democrats (70 percent), Independents (71 percent) and Republicans (60 percent) feel this way. This sentiment is also particularly true among women (73 percent vs. 62 percent of men) and older Americans, ages 55+, compared with those 18-44 (65+, 73 percent; 55-64, 72 percent; 45-54, 69 percent; 35-44, 63 percent; and 18-34, 62 percent).

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,192 U.S. adults surveyed online between Jan. 9 and 11, 2017. Complete results of the study can be found here.

The economic outlook
Turning to a broad look at the economy, Americans are largely split on where things will go in the coming year. Over one third each say the economy will stay the same (37 percent) or improve (36 percent), while more than one in four expect it to get worse (27 percent).

Economic optimism is highest among men (40 percent vs. 32 percent of women) and higher income households ($100K+, 41 percent; $75K-$99.9K, 43 percent; $50K-$74.9K, 35 percent; less than $50K, 31 percent). Republicans are also significantly more likely than both Democrats and Independents to believe the economy will improve this year (56 percent, vs. 20 percent and 37 percent, respectively).

The future at home
Looking at a micro level – their own households – a slight majority of adults say they expect their household's financial condition will remain the same in the first six months of 2017 (52 percent). One third, however, are optimistic that their financial situation will improve (36 percent), while just 12 percent say it will get worse. Generational differences are apparent as 70 percent of Matures expect their condition to remain the same while nearly half of Millennials expect things to get better (48 percent). Men are also more likely to expect improvements (38 percent vs. 33 percent of women).

Methodology
This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between Jan. 9 and 11, 2017 among 2,192 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

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