“Good morning Pooh Bear…if it is a good morning… which I doubt.” –Eeyore, “Winnie the Pooh,” 1926
The depressive donkey in A.A. Milne’s “Winnie the Pooh” stories pretty much matches the mood of Americans lately, according to the new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released last week. When 1,000 potential voters were asked whether they think the nation is on the right or wrong track, 65% of them said the country had taken a wrong turn, and only 25% said the U.S. was on the right path.
The only time the public has felt worse was in October 2008, during the first, deep spasms of the recession. Then, 78% said the nation was on the wrong track, and only 12% felt good about the country’s direction. The last time “right direction” beat out “wrong track” was in January 2004 — and the last election cycle where that was the case was 2002.
“Why are people so gloomy? Well, it might just be everything,” says pollster Micah Roberts, sounding a bit like Eeyore himself. Mr. Roberts is vice president of Public Opinion Strategies, which along with Hart Research Associates conducted the poll. “We haven’t had a plurality saying ‘right track’ in over ten years so that’s pretty amazing. After 10 years it’s just part of the collective consciousness of Americans,” to think the nation’s gone off the rails, he added.