State of the Nation

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

27% of registered voters say the country is headed in the right direction. 62% of registered voters say the country is on the wrong track.

  Right track Wrong track
Male 28% 61%
Female 21% 63%
Democrats 44% 38%
Republicans 12% 84%
Independents 18% 66%
Urban 31% 53%
Suburban 25% 65%
Rural 17% 67%

[Econ/YouGov 10/4/22]

In the previous issue of the Washington Watch, on September 17, 2022, 26% said right track and 60% said it was on the wrong track.

The National Registry of Exonerations examined defendants who were exonerated after serving at least part of a sentence–sometimes spending decades in prison.

Black people represent 13.6% of the American population but account for 53% of 3,200 exonerations as of August 8, 2022. Innocent Black Americans were 7 ½ times more likely to be convicted of murder than innocent white people. The convictions that led to murder exonerations of Black Americans were almost 50% more likely to include misconduct by police officers. [Axios AM 9/27/22]

The number of U.S. home births was substantially higher in 2020 than in previous years. The number of home births rose from 38,506 in 2019 to 45,646 in 2020, a 19% increase. [PEW 7/28/22]

GM was the biggest seller of cars in the US from 1931 through last year. Toyota dethroned GM at the start of 2021. In 2022, GM recovered its throne selling nearly 80,000 more cars than its Japanese rival Toyota. [Insider 10/4/22]

The Changing Population of the United States

2010 population: 309,327,143
2021 population: 331,893,745

From 2010 to 2021, Texas had the largest growth with 4.3 million more residents

Among counties, Maricopa County, Arizona had the largest growth with 671,405 new people. Baltimore County, Maryland had the largest decline with 44,444 fewer residents.

U.S. population has increased 11 out of the 11 years between 2010 and 2021

In 2021 the largest racial or ethnic group in the U.S. was White (non-Hispanic) with a population of 196.8 million. [USAFacts July 2022]

45% of Hispanics say there is a great deal of difference between the Democratic and Republican parties. 36% say there is a fair amount of difference and 16% say there is hardly any difference between them.

36% of Latinos say the Democratic party works hard to earn Latino votes.

Latinos’ party affiliation has changed very little from 2019 to 2022.

In 2022, nearly 35 million Latinos will be eligible to vote, accounting for 14% of eligible voters. [PEW 9/29/22]

The Judicial Branch of the Federal Government

47% of Americans have a great deal of trust in the judicial branch of the federal government headed by the U.S. Supreme Court. This is the lowest score recorded by Gallup since it began keeping score in 1972. The high point was in 1999 when 80% expressed a great deal of trust.

Currently, 58% of Americans disapprove of the way the Supreme Court is handling its job while 40% approve. This is the lowest approval rating the Supreme Court has received in 50 years of Gallup polling.

38% of Americans say the ideological leaning of the Supreme Court is about right. 42% say it is too conservative while 18% say it is too liberal.

67% of Republicans have a great deal or fair amount of trust in the judicial branch of the federal government. This is also true of 46% of Independents. 25% of Democrats have a great deal of trust in the judicial branch.

In 2001, 80% of Republicans approved of the job being done by the Supreme Court. Today that number is 60%. In the same time period, the approval of the Court by independents has fallen from 57% to 40%. Among Democrats approval has fallen from 70% to 13% earlier this year and has now popped back up to 23%.

Democrats Independents Republicans
Too conservative 71 46 11
About right 18 35 58
Too Liberal 9 17 29

[Gallup 9/16/22 & 9/29/22]

Looking at the current Supreme Court, here are the “number of words spoken” by each of the Justices in the first eight arguments heard during the current term of the court. New Justice Jackson is not waiting to speak up. 11,003 is a unique amount for new Justices.

Justice Number of Words
Ketanji Brown Jackson 11,003
Amy Coney Barrett 4,475
Sonia Sotomayor 4,409
Elena Kagan 4,025
John Robert 3,469
Neil Gorsuch 2,657
Brett Kavanaugh 2,385
Samuel Alito 883
Clarence Thomas 96

Interestingly, the Justice who has served the longest – Thomas (1991) had the least to say. [SCOTUS]

For the first time, the number of arrests of undocumented immigrants along the southwestern borderer exceeded two million in one year. [NYT 9/19/22]

Nationally, rent costs are 20% higher than they were in early 2020. [NYT 10/16/22]

According to a new study of people arrested or charged for crimes during the January 6, 2021, Capitol attack, 86% of them were not affiliated with an extremist group. [NYT 10/16/22]

Percentage of U.S. adults who say they often use the following:

Group Paypal Venmo Zelle Cash App
U.S. adults 57% 38% 36% 26%
Ages 18- 29 63 57 48 39
Ages 30-49 66 49 46 35
Ages 50–64 55 28 29 19
Ages 65+ 41 15 20 9
White 58 41 29 17
Black 51 21 45 59
Hispanic 52 33 54 37
Asian 70 47 65 16
Upper income 67 54 40 18
Middle income 60 41 37 24
Lower income 48 26 35 36
Having used it 57 38 36 26

[PEW 9/8/22]

In Memoriam

Mark Stephen Shields
Born May 25, 1937/Died June 18, 2022
A political activist, columnist, adviser, and commentator.

The following is from Shields’ commentary on December 18, 2020, his last Friday night commentary on the PBS NewsHour.

“I grew up when a man was in the White House who said very simply, the measure of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much, but whether we provide enough for those who have too little. It’s very straightforward – it was Franklin Roosevelt.”

“And the other kind of guidepost for me in politics that I guess I learned from my mom and my dad, my family, was that every one of us has been warmed by fires that we did not build, and every one of us has drunk from wells we did not dig. And together we can’t do less for those who come after us. And, together, we can do so much more.”

Coming into Saturday, October 15, the Yankees were 167-0 in Major League Baseball postseason history when leading by multiple runs entering the ninth inning. That record ended that night when the Guardians beat the Yankees 6 to 5. [WW]


The official BLS seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for September 2022 is 3.5%.

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 6.7 % in September and less than 8.5% a year earlier. The Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR) in September 2022 is 62.14%, down from 62.3% in September 2021.

The Demographics of Unemployment for September 2022

Unemployment by Gender (20 years and older)

  • Women –2.6% (down from last month)
  • Men –2.9% (down from last month)

Unemployment by Race

  • White – 3.1% (down from last month)
  • Black –5.8% (down from last month)
  • Hispanic – 3.8% (down from last month)
  • Asian –2.5% (down from last month)

Unemployment by Education (25 years & over)

  • Less than high school –5.6% (down from last month)
  • High School –3.7% (down from last month)
  • Some college –2.9% (same as last month)
  • Bachelor’s Degree or higher –1.8% (less than last month)

In August 2022, 27 states had unemployment rates below the national average of 3.7%. 19 states, including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, had unemployment rates that were above the national average. Two states, Washington and Oregon, had unemployment rates that were the same as the national average.

The state/territory with the highest unemployment rate was Puerto Rico at 5.8%.

“Quiet Quitting”

82% of young workers (18–29-year-olds) say the idea of doing the minimum required to keep their jobs is pretty appealing. 15% are already doing it.

The idea of working to live instead of living to work is consistent across gender, race, and political views.

Among those who agree are:

  • 85% of young women and 79% of young men
  • 82% of whites, 86% of blacks and 79% of Asians
  • 84% of Democrats, 79% of Republicans, 83% of Independents

The new generation of office workers values work-life balance far more than generations who came before it. [Axios AM 9/21/22]