Party affiliation and general outlook 1991-2011

May 24, 2011

The proportions of Americans who are politically affiliated with one of the two major parties has been very stable over the last 20 years, at about 60% with a slight downward trend (+ marks and thick trend line in the chart below). Over the same period, the general outlook of the public has fluctuated wildly, with those who say the country is “going in the right direction” reaching over 50% at one point and falling 5 years later to 20% (circles and thin trend line). The public mood seems to be optimistic immediately following presidential elections (vertical dashed lines), and pessimistic immediately before them.

Data source: New York Times/CBS poll, April 15-20, 2011.


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