Conventional wisdom claims that current campaigns reflect the seething anger of the electorate and the misery of the populace. Yet polling data actually shows an overwhelming majority expressing satisfaction with their personal lives, even if they do worry over the nation’s direction.
In 2015, Gallup showed 85% saying they felt “satisfied with the way things were going in their personal lives” – close to the all-time record of 88% in 2003. How, then, could the same poll show disapproval of America’s direction by a two-to-one margin?
The contradiction stems from the media’s bad news obsession: focusing on crimes, disasters, and scandals of all kinds; when things go well, it’s seldom newsworthy. People know the truth about their own lives, but they judge the nation’s welfare based on reports from TV, newspapers, radio and the internet.
The purported tidal wave of anger and indignation may be just another example of media looking for something extraordinary and menacing to report and discuss.