Weighing in on grating question of American greatness

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NewsWorks Tonight host Dave Heller sits down for his weekly conversation with the Gallup Poll’s Frank Newport to talk about trends in U.S. opinion.

N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo stirred up controversy this week when he said, “We are not going to make America great, America. It was never that great.  We have not reached greatness.”

Is America great?  About one third of those polled are satisfied with the way things are going in the country, suggesting huge numbers of Americans do not see the nation as great.

But satisfaction is highly dependent on the party of the president. Republicans totally re-evaluated their satisfaction levels after Donald Trump came into office … going from very low during the Obama years to 67 percent satisfied today.  By contrast, Democrats now see a decline in the U.S., with only 12 percent satisfied.

The New York Times reported an estimated 72,000 overdose deaths in the U.S. in 2017.  About a third of Americans report drug abuse has caused trouble in their families, higher than the percentage who say drinking has been a problem.  Back in 1999, just 15 percent said drug abuse had been a problem.

Drug abuse is most common in the West, and it is fairly evenly distributed across education and income groups.

Has drug abuse ever been a cause of trouble in your family?

Yes
No
No opinion
2018 July 1-11
30
70
*
2005 Oct. 13-16
22
78
*
2003 Oct. 6-8
24
76
*
2000 Aug. 29-Sept. 5
22
78
*
1999 Sept. 23-26
17
83
*
1995 Sept. 14-17
19
81
*

The release of the grand jury report documenting that more than 300 priests in Pennsylvania sexually abused at least 1,000 children has been another blow to the Catholic church.

About 23 percent of American adults identify as Catholics; despite all the revelations of abuse, that percentage has not declined substantially.  But Catholics now go to church no more frequently than Protestants.  Decades ago, Catholics attended church much more frequently.

Turning to the Philadelphia region,  New Jersey is the second most-Catholic state in the union, with 40 percent of adults identifying as Catholic.  Pennsylvania is 11th, with 28 percent; Delaware is 15th, with a 26 percent Catholic population.

A new Gallup update shows that Pope Francis remains popular, with a 66 percent favorable rating versus 17 percent who view him unfavorably.

Among Catholics, Francis has the support of 79 percent while 12 percent do consider him favorably.

Favorable
Unfavorable
Never heard of
No opinion
2018 Aug, 1-12
66
17
9
8
2015 Oct. 7-11
70
17
5
7
2015 July 8-12
59
16
14
11
2014 Feb, 6-9
76
9
10
6
2013 April 11-14
58
10
13
18

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