State of the Nation

*Any statements in this issue of the Watch which are not sourced are mine and identified by “WW”.

35% of registered voters say the country is headed in the right direction. 54% of registered voters say the country is on the wrong track.

Right track Wrong track
Democrats 69% 20%
Republicans 15% 79%
Independents 28% 60%

[Econ/Yougov 8/3/21]

Americans were more pessimistic (55%) than optimistic (45%) toward the end of July 2021. This was a big change since the end of April when Americans were more optimistic (64%) than pessimistic (36%). [ABC News/Ipsos Poll – based on the Knowledge Panel]

There are about 4 million married Americans ages 18 and over who live apart from their spouses, up from 2.7 million in 2000. This does not include unmarried couples who are dealing with distance. [Axios What’s Next 7/27/21]

56% of Americans think that major technology companies should face more government regulation and 68% believe that these firms have too much power.

37% of U.S. adults say it would be “mostly a good thing” if the government were to take steps to reduce the size of major technology companies. 29% say it would be “mostly a bad thing”. 31% do not think it would make much of a difference.

Interestingly, 44% of those who are Conservative Rep/Lean Rep and 48% of Liberal Dem/Lean Dem think it would be mostly a good thing if the government were to take steps to reduce the size of major technology companies. [PEW 7/20/21]

49% of Americans including, 58% of Republicans. 51% of Democrats and 36% of Independents, 57% of men, and 42% of women, believe that the United States dealt with COVID better than other countries. [Winning the Issues 7/21/21]

How much confidence do Americans have in each of the following institutions that are a part of American Society? The list below is the percentage of Americans who have a great deal/quite a lot of confidence in each of these institutions.

All White Adults Black Adults Hispanic Adults
Small business 70% 74% 55% 56%
The military 69% 73 57 63
The police 51% 56 27 49
The medical system 44% 45 42 44
The presidency 38% 35 46 46
The church or organized religion 37% 37 35 43
The U.S. Supreme Court 36% 35 24 47
Banks 33% 31 35 44
The public schools 32% 28 28 50
Large technology companies 29% 24 25 43
Organized labor 28% 24 28 39
Newspapers 21% 21 24 24
Criminal justice system 20% 17 11 35
Big business 18% 14 19 28
Television news 16% 13 28 21
Congress 12% 6 15 31

[Gallup 6/1-7/5/21]

Gun owners and non-owners differ over most gun policies with notable exceptions.

All Adults Gun Owners Non-gun Owners
Preventing people with mental illness from purchasing guns 87% 87% 88%
Making private gun sales and gun show sales subject to background checks 81 72 87
Creating federal government database to track gun sales 66 46 77
Banning high-capacity magazines that hold more than 10 rounds 64 40 74
Banning assault-style weapons 63 37 74
Allowing people to carry concealed guns in more places 43 70 30
Allowing teachers and school officials to carry guns in K-12 schools 43 63 33
Shortening waiting period for people who want to buy guns legally 35 49 28
Allowing people to carry concealed weapons with a permit 20 35 13

Three-in-ten U.S. adults say they own a gun.

Personally own gun Don’t own gun but someone in household does
All adults 30% 11%
Men 39 4
Women 22 16
White 36 11
Black 24 13
Hispanic 18 8
Asian 10 10
Ages 18-29 18 17
30-49 32 9
50-64 33 9
65+ 32 10
Urban 20 9
Suburban 29 11
Rural 41 11
Rep/Lean Rep 44 10
Dem/Lean Dem 20 11

[PEW 8/4/21]


The official BLS seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for July 2021 is 5.4%. That unemployment rate is lower than the 5.9% in June and substantially less than the 10.5% unemployment rate of July 2020.

If one considers the total number of unemployed + those marginally attached to the labor force + those working part-time who want full-time work, the unemployment rate in July was 9.2%, down from 9.8% in June and substantially less than 16.8% a year earlier.

The Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR) is 61.6%, down from 61.7% in June 2021.

The Demographics of Unemployment for July 2021

Unemployment by Gender (20 years and older)

  • Women –4.5% (down from last month)
  • Men –4.9% (down from last month)

Unemployment by Race

  • White – 4.8% (down from last month)
  • Black – 8.2% (down from last month)
  • Hispanic – 6.6% (down from last month)
  • Asian –5.3% (down from last month)

Unemployment by Education (25 years & over)

  • Less than high school –9.5% (down from last month)
  • High School –6.3% (down from last month)
  • Some college –5.0% (down from last month)
  • Bachelor’s Degree or higher – 3.1% (down from last month)

In June, 33 states had unemployment rates below the national average of 5.9%. 18 states, including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, had unemployment rates that were above the national average. One state had an unemployment rate that was the same as the national average.

The state with the highest unemployment rate in June was Puerto Rico at 8.1%. [BLS 6/21]

40% of employed adults said they would prefer working 4 days per week for at least 10 hours per day. 35% of working Americans said they would rather stick to a traditional five-day workweek consisting of 8-hour days. [Morning Consult 7/13/21]

This and That

The following are the percentage of adults who recently sent money to another person electronically using the listed payment app.

  • PayPal – 26%
  • Venmo – 16%
  • Cash App – 16%
  • Zelle – 16%
  • Amazon Pay – 10%
  • Apple Cash – 8%
  • Google Pay – 6%
  • Facebook Pay – 4%

[Washington Post 7/25/21]

Political parties traditionally kick their defeated presidential nominees to the curb as they look to the next election cycle. Especially a defeated one-term president e.g., George H.W. Bush. John Kerry, Mitt Romney, and Hillary Clinton all became afterthoughts after their election loss.

But that has not been the case with Donald Trump, who so much of the Republican party continues to embrace, defend, and idolize. [Meet the Press: First Read, NBC news. 7/27/21]

As of July 21, 2021, 37 Vice Presidents of the United States had cast a total of 276 tie breaking votes in the U.S. Senate. Vice President Harris has cast 8 tie breaking votes so far. This makes her eleventh on the list of Vice Presidents who have cast the most tie breaking votes.

The most tie breaking votes were cast by John C. Calhoun who cast 31 tie breaking votes. Three other Vice Presidents cast 8 tie breaking votes during their tenure, Albin Barkley, Richard Nixon, and Dick Cheney. Harris’s predecessor, Mike Pence, cast 13 tie breaking votes during his tenure.

12 Vice Presidents did not cast a single tie breaking vote. Four Vice Presidents cast a single tie breaking vote…Wilson, Hobart, Truman, and Mondale.

The American Association for Public Opinion Research did a study in which it found that “surveys overstated the margin between President Biden and former president Donald Trump by 3.9 points in the national popular vote and 4.3% in state polls.” The report goes on to say, “Most pre-election polls lack the precision necessary to predict the outcome of semi-close contests.” [WP 7/19/21]

Jack Martin of the Martin+Crumpton Group produces a periodic publication called “Perspectives.” I find the current issue dated August 4th to be particularly on point. Each of the following points is based on recent public polling.

How concerned are you, if at all, about the coronavirus or Covid-19 outbreak?

  • Concerned 68.69%
  • Not concerned 31.31%

Share of groups who said they believe the economy will get “much” or “somewhat” worse over the next year:

  • 61% of Republicans
  • 17% of Democrats
  • 38% of Independents

Who, among the unvaccinated, is likely or unlikely get a Covid-19 vaccine?

  • Likely – 33% of Democrats and 21% of Republicans
  • Not very likely – 19% of Democrats and 30% of Republicans
  • Not at all likely – 12% of Democrats and 45% of Republicans

Do you strongly approve of government vaccine mandates?

In April/May: In June/July:
81% of Democrats 84% of Democrats
42% of Republicans 45% of Republicans

[Perspectives 8/3/21]