Americans Largely Pessimistic About U.S. Prospects in 2023

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Coming off several challenging years, Americans enter 2023 with a mostly gloomy outlook for the U.S. as majorities predict negative conditions in 12 of 13 economic, political, societal and international arenas.

When offered opposing outcomes on each issue, about eight in 10 U.S. adults think 2023 will be a year of economic difficulty with higher rather than lower taxes and a growing rather than shrinking budget deficit. More than six in 10 think prices will rise at a high rate and the stock market will fall in the year ahead, both of which happened in 2022. In addition, just over half of Americans predict that unemployment will increase in 2023, an economic problem the U.S. was spared in 2022.

On the domestic front, 90% of Americans expect 2023 will be a year of political conflict in the U.S., 72% think the crime rate will rise, and 56% predict there will be many strikes by labor unions.

Regarding world affairs, 85% of U.S. adults predict the year ahead will be fraught with international discord rather than peaceful. And while 64% think the United States’ power in the world will decline, 73% think China’s power will increase. However, 64% of Americans expect Russia’s power in the world will decrease in 2023, likely a reflection of that country’s recent setbacks in its war against Ukraine.

These findings are from a Dec. 5-19 nationally representative web survey of U.S. adults who are members of Gallup’s probability-based panel.

Gallup has asked Americans for their predictions for the coming year intermittently over the years starting in 1960. The prior surveys were conducted by in-person or telephone interviews, and the results are not directly comparable to the current data collected by self-administered web survey.

However, historical data have generally shown that Americans’ forecasts for the coming year are largely dependent on their views of the domestic and international climates at the time. Likewise, recent Gallup polling underscores the public’s gloomy outlook in their 2023 predictions on domestic issues.

  • The government, the economy and inflation dominated as the most important problems facing the U.S. in 2022, and confidence in the economy remains among the worst readings measured since the Great Recession.
  • This decreased confidence is largely due to the highest inflation in the U.S. in more than 40 years, which a majority of Americans say is causing financial hardship in their household.
  • In addition, the public’s perceptions of local crime reached a record-high level and national crime perceptions edged up in October.

Democrats More Hopeful About 2023 Than Republicans, Independents

Party identification is the greatest demographic differentiator in predictions for 2023, with Democrats more likely than Republicans to offer positive predictions for all of the dimensions. This is a typical phenomenon whereby Americas who identify with the sitting president’s party are more positive in general in their outlook for the year ahead.

Majorities of Democrats foresee five positive developments in 2023. These include full or increasing employment (69%), a reasonable rise in prices (53%), a rising stock market (53%), an increase in U.S. power (56%) and a decrease in Russian power (79%). Democrats are least likely to predict political cooperation (13%) and a peaceful year mostly free of international disputes (21%).

Meanwhile, 61% of independents and 47% of Republicans expect Russian power in the world will decrease. Aside from the 36% of Republicans who expect few labor union strikes in the year ahead, no more than 23% of Republicans expect a positive outcome for any of the other 11 dimensions.

Bottom Line

Americans are greeting 2023 with great skepticism and little expectation that the economic struggles that closed out 2022 will abate. Few U.S. adults also predict the partisan politics that plague the nation will improve, not an unreasonable expectation given that there will be divided government in 2023 after Republicans won control of the U.S. House of Representatives. The public’s predictions for international affairs are similarly pessimistic. However, with their party controlling the White House, Democrats are more hopeful about the year ahead.
Source: Gallup News