Daily Dose: Is Your Government Glass Half-Full or Half-Empty?

More than likely you don’t fall under either of those two categories as 49 percent of Americans in a recent Washington Post-ABC poll stated that they felt “uncertain” about the future of the US government and how it works. Merely 26 percent said they felt “optimistic” and 23 percent said they felt “pessimistic.”

From our good friend Ed O’Keefe down at the Washington Post, we read in his recent column

Poll finds increased pessimism in government:

Unlike most attitudes about government and politics, there’s near uniformity on this question: Three in 10 or fewer Democrats, Republicans and independents express optimism about the future.

I found it relatively easy to understand why Americans would be uncertain about their, and the country’s, future. I mean, with some rather hefty issues on the horizon, who knows what the outcomes and their effects will be? Isn’t uncertainty an inherent part of what the future is? Life is full of unknowns no matter what the context; it’s how we deal with them that I feel is more telling.

That’s where optimism and pessimism come into play. According to O’Keefe, optimism is at an all time low (peaking at 57 percent in a similar 1977 poll), and pessimism rests at just 5 percent less than their all time high of 28 percent. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a bit of an eternal optimist, so I know where I stand, but I’d like to hear where others weigh in.

Has pessimism finally won out, or is there still something about which we can be optimistic in today’s society? Where do you fall? Half-full or half-empty?


“Daily Dose of the Washington Post” is a blog series created by GovLoop in partnership with The Washington Post. If you see great stories in the Post and want to ask a question around it, send them to [email protected].

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