Idahoans are not the most optimistic people these days, both about how their state is doing and certainly about how life is in the United States, a new Idaho Politics Weekly poll shows.

Asked by pollster Dan Jones & Associates whether the United States is going in the right or wrong direction, 74 percent – or three-fourths of the populace – say the nation is headed in the wrong direction.

Eighteen percent say it is going in the right direction, and 7 percent don’t know.

Asked if Idaho is going in the right or wrong direction, 44 percent said wrong direction, 42 percent said right direction, and 13 percent didn’t know.

Then asked if Idaho is a better place to live than five years ago, or about the same, or actually a worse place to live, 42 percent said it is about the same, 26 percent said it is a better place, but 27 percent said it is a worse place to live than five years ago.

Only 5 percent didn’t have an opinion on that question.

Overall, one may say Idahoans are ambivalent about how their state is doing, and certainly negative about how their country is doing.

Not the best measures of optimism and good feelings.

Republicans hold all the major offices in Idaho, both on the federal and state level.

And a Democrat holds the U.S. presidency.

So it is understandable that most Idahoans aren’t feeling well about the state of the nation.

Nearly two-thirds of Republicans believe Idaho is going in the right direction.

But the new survey shows that Democrats and independents in Idaho feel disengaged, or disheartened, about where their state stands.

Here are some of the numbers:

  • 87 percent of Republicans say the U.S is headed in the wrong direction, only 8 percent say it is on the right track, and 4 percent don’t know.
  • 47 percent of Democrats say on the right track, 39 percent think the country is going the wrong way, 14 percent don’t know.
  • 76 percent of political independents don’t like the direction the country is going, 17 percent say right track and 6 percent don’t know.

How is Idaho itself doing?

  • 60 percent of Republicans say it is going in the right direction, 26 percent say the wrong way, and 14 percent don’t know.
  • Democrats are pretty negative about the state: 66 percent say it is headed in the wrong direction, 30 percent say the right way, 4 percent don’t know.
  • Political independents are split: 47 percent say right direction, 38 percent say the wrong way, 14 percent don’t know.

The saddest results come when Idahoans are asked if their lives are better, worse or about the same as five years ago – or in other words, are things improving in the Gem State.

Of course, one would hope they are.

But Idahoans are mixed on this. Jones finds:

  • 26 percent say life is better in the state than five years ago.
  • 42 percent say it is about the same.
  • And 27 percent say it is worse, 5 percent don’t know.
  • 44 percent of Republicans say life is about the same, 28 percent say it is better and 22 percent say it is worse, 5 percent don’t know.

Considering that Republicans run the state, for the majority party this is certainly not a good outcome.

  • 31 percent of Democrats say life is about the same as five years ago, 32 percent say it is better, 29 percent say it is worse, and 7 percent don’t know.
  • Political independents: 22 percent say life is better in Idaho, 48 percent say it is the same as five years ago, 26 percent say it is worse, and 3 percent don’t know.

One would hope that the young have a brighter outlook than the old.

And that is the case: 32 percent of those 18-29 say Idaho is better today than five years ago while only 19 percent of those over 65 say that.

Still, only one-third of young folks think life is better today? Not an overwhelming positive feeling.

Jones polled 610 adults from June 17 to July 1; the poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.