More Americans than ever think US headed in wrong direction, Congress’ approval near rock bottom: survey

Exclusive: President Reagan’s annual National Defense Survey finds that more Americans than ever say the country is headed in the wrong direction, while Congressional approval ratings remain near rock bottom.

According to the survey, only 25% of American adults think the country is heading in the right direction, and a whopping 70% say it’s on the wrong path.

This is a significant change since the study was first conducted in 2018. At the time, only 54% thought the country was heading in the wrong direction, while 27% said it was heading in the right direction.

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Behind a decommissioned FDNY John J. Harvey fireboat as part of the 9/11 Memorial Platoon on the Hudson River transiting Lower Manhattan and One World Trade Center on September 10, 2021 in New York. The city where the American flag flies. (Gary Hershawn/Getty Images)

Only 5% said they had “a lot” of confidence in Congress, and 21% said they had “some” confidence in Congress. 26% said they were “somewhat” confident, while 43% said they were “not at all confident.”

These numbers also represent a significant decline in Americans’ views of the federal government’s legislative branch. In 2018, 39% said they had “a lot” or “some” confidence in Congress, 28% said “a little” and 43% said “not at all.”

When asked which issue facing the country was most important, 16% said inflation and the price of gasoline and food related to jobs and the economy.

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us capitol dome

Birds fly near the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, U.S. on October 4, 2021. (Reuters/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo)

Politics and partisanship followed at 10%, followed by corruption and incompetent leaders (9%) and immigration (5%) rounding out the top five.

Americans also expressed serious concerns about a number of other issues, including the threat of conventional military attack against the country. 62% said they were concerned about such attacks, while 25% said they were not concerned.

85% said they were worried about the possibility of a cyberattack, 81% said they were concerned about the possibility of a terrorist attack, and 87% said they were worried about political divisions in the United States that could ultimately lead to violence.

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U.S. Army

U.S. soldiers with the 2nd Battalion, 70th Armored Regiment, 1st Infantry Division train with M1A2 Abrams tanks in Nowa Dewa, Poland, April 12, 2023. (Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Regarding national defense, 55% of Americans say we are too dependent on non-aligned countries for supplies needed for national security, while 16% say we are not. 18% of people said yes.

As for the U.S.’s domestic manufacturing capacity to produce defense supplies domestically, 69% said it needs further increases.

Additionally, 70% said they needed to expand domestic manufacturing capacity so they could ramp up production to meet needs in the event of a crisis.


The results were released as part of the Reagan National Defense Forum survey, which is in its sixth and 10th year. It involved 2,506 US adults surveyed from October 27th to November 5th.



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