State of the Nation

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

26% of registered voters say the country is headed in the right direction. 60% of registered voters say the country is on the wrong track.

  Right track Wrong track
Male 27% 63%
Female 25% 58%
Democrats 50% 50%
Republicans 9% 88%
Independents 16% 64%
Urban 36% 49%
Suburban 24% 67%
Rural 17% 66%

[Econ/YouGov 8/30/22]

In the previous issue of the Washington Watch, on August 13, 2022, Econ/YouGov reported that 22% of registered voters said the country was on the right track and 69% said it was on the wrong track.

New cars sold in California after 2035 will have to be zero emissions. 35% of cars sold by 2026 must have zero emissions and by 2030 68% need to be zero emissions. So far this year, 16% of new cars sold in California have zero emissions. This compares with 6% of cars sold nationally. [Politics long game 8/26/22]

In December 2000, 52% of registered voters had “a great deal” or “some confidence” in the United States Supreme Court while 13% had “little or no confidence” in the Court.

By December 2019, the number expressing “a great deal” or “some confidence” had fallen to 39% while the number expressing “little or no confidence” in the Court had grown to 17%.
Then, by August 2022 following the Supreme Court’s Roe v Wade decision the bottom fell out and those expressing “a great deal” or “some confidence” in the Court fell to 27% and those expressing “little or no confidence” rose to 37%. [NBC 8/16/22]

After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, more than 70% of newly registered voters in Kansas were women, according to an analysis of the state’s registered voters list.

In San Francisco, drug overdoses killed more than twice as many people as the coronavirus in 2020. [NYT 8/20/22]

46% of U.S. teens say they use the internet “almost constantly”. This is almost double the 24% who reported that usage in 2014-2015. [Mike Allen Axios 8/13/22]

There are 4 million fewer students in college now than there were 10 years ago. There has been a steady drop nationwide in the proportion of high school graduates enrolling in college in the fall after they finish school – from a high of 70% in 2016 to 63% in 2020.

Americans are increasingly dubious about the need to go to college. Fewer than 1 in 3 adults now say a degree is worth the cost. Since the start of the pandemic, the proportion of 14-18-year-olds who think education is necessary beyond high school has dropped from 60% to 45%. [USNEWS 8/10/22]

The average life expectancy in the United States dropped by nearly two years from 78.8 years in 2019 to 77 years in 2020. It was the country’s lowest average in nearly two decades.

In eight states and the District of Columbia life expectancy fell by more than two years from 2019 to 2020.

Heading the list of those states was New York in which life expectancy dropped by 3 years resulting in a life expectancy of 77.7 years. The balance of the list of nine are decreases of: D.C – 2.7 years; Louisiana and New Jersey– 2.6 years; Arizona and Mississippi – 2.5 years; New Mexico – 2.4 years and Illinois – 2.2 years and Texas – 2.1 years.

The other 40 states each lost a little, ending with Hawaii which lost the lowest amount of 0.2 years.

Deaths in the U.S. rose 19% from 2019 to 2020. [NBCNews 8/23/22]

What do you think is the most important problem facing this country today?

Issue % Citing Issue
Inflation 17
Government/Leadership 17
Economy in General 12
Abortion Issues 8
Judicial System/Courts 6
Unifying the country 6
Immigration 6
Guns/Gun Control 5
Fuel/Oil Prices 5
Race/Racism 4
Crime 4

[Gallup 7/6/22]

The U.S. Education system is a patchwork of local, state, and federal laws, regulations, and funding. (This report does not include private or charter schools or schools lacking their own school board.)

  • The U.S. public school system is composed of 13,194 districts
  • There are around 84,423 elected school board members (including vacancies)
  • The average number of school board members per district ranges from 3.45 in West Virginia to 9.97 in Connecticut
  • Hawaii, with one overarching school district across seven islands, has nine board members

Women makeup approximately 50.1% of the total U.S. population in 2019 while men make up approximately 48.9% of the population. How does that compare to the composition of school board members?

Nationwide, 52.15% of school board members are male, while 43.29% are female. (There is no gender information for the remaining school board members–around 4.5%.)

The five states with the highest percentage of male school board members are: Arkansas – 63.9%; Oklahoma – 63.65%; Tennessee – 63.57%; Texas – 63.35% – Nebraska – 60.74%.

The five states with the highest percentage of female school board members are: Florida – 59.02%; Alaska – 58.59%; Maryland – 56.98%; Arizona – 55.77%; Maine – 54.79%.

Every state has at least one school district – and most states have more than 100. Hawaii has one district; D.C. has one district covering 116 schools. Delaware, with 19, is the state with the fewest districts. Texas has the most districts at 1022 and California is in second place with 997 districts. [Ballotpedia 8/24/22]

Are Americans ready for a Third Party?

Andrew Yang, a former candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, and Christine Todd Whitman, a former Republican governor of New Jersey, think the time is right for a third party.

They have founded the Forward Party. It stands for doing, not dividing.

Meanwhile, the share of Americans holding unfavorable views of both parties has grown from 6% in 1994 to 27% some 28 years later (2022).

Democratic party-leaners have grown more frustrated with the leadership of the party, rising from 28% in 2016 to 40% today while Republican party-leaners expressing frustration with the Republican party has declined from 52% in 2016 to 39% today.

Neither party is very popular with the public. Roughly 41% have a favorable view of the Democratic Party while only 37% have a favorable view of the Republican Party.

Democrats (38%) are more likely than Republicans (21%) to express a desire for more political parties. Among independents and those who do not identify with a party, 48% say that describes their views.

In 2016, 47% of Republicans and 35% of Democrats, thought those in the other party were more immoral than other Americans. Today, 72% of Republicans regard Democrats as more immoral and 63% of Democrats say the same about Republicans.

48% of independents, 38% of Democrats, and 21% of Republicans wish there were more political parties to choose from in this country.

In 2003, 56% of voters believed that the two existing parties did an adequate job of representing the American people. By 2021 this figure had dropped to 33% while the share who thought that a third major political party was needed to achieve adequate representation had risen from 40% to 62%. [Bill Galston/Brookings 8/12/22 – PEW 8/9/22]

The Forward Party

The following are excerpts from a distribution by the new party.

The Forward Party stands for doing, not dividing. We’re not building a copy of the current parties.

How we’re different:

Diverse thinking isn’t just Welcome, It’s Required.
Bottom up, Not top down
No purity tests
More Listening, Less talking
Work together, not against
Grace and Tolerance

The Forward Party will approach each other with grace and tolerance, finding ways to pick people back up rather than knock them down.

One of the initial sites of the party’s organization efforts is in Maine.

If you want more information on the Forward Party, look to Wikipedia.


The official BLS seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for August 2022 is 3.7%.

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 is 7.0 % in August and less than 8.8 % a year earlier. The Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR) in August is 62.4%, up from 62.3% in July 2022.

The Demographics of Unemployment for August 2022

Unemployment by Gender (20 years and older)

  • Women – 2.8% (up from last month)
  • Men – 3.1% (up as last month)

Unemployment by Race

  • White – 3.2% (up from last month)
  • Black – 6.4% (up from last month)
  • Hispanic – 4.5% (up from last month)
  • Asian – 2.8% (up from last month)

Unemployment by Education (25 years & over)

  • Less than high school – 6.2% (up from last month)
  • High School – 4.2% (up from last month)
  • Some college – 2.9% (up from last month)
  • Bachelor’s Degree or higher – 1.9% (less than last month)

In July 2022, 27 states had unemployment rates below the national average of 3.5%. 22 states, including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, had unemployment rates that were above the national average. Two states, and Oregon, had unemployment rates that were the same as the national average.

The state/territory with the highest unemployment rate in July was Puerto Rico at 5.9%.