What a difference eight years can make—or not. Between the final days of the presidency of Bill Clinton and the current wrapping up of the administration of George W. Bush, many changes have occurred in the state of the nation's polity and economy. And yet, others things, most notably certain American beliefs and attitudes, have remained remarkably constant.
No question the overall mood of the public has changed a great deal since Bush was elected president in the fall of 2000. A mere 13% of Americans are now satisfied with the way things are going in the country, compared with 55% eight years ago. And while 61% applauded at Clinton's curtain call, only 24% approve of Bush's performance as he leaves the national stage. Still, the U.S. Congress, now controlled by Democrats, fares no better in public esteem: fewer than one in five now approve of its job performance, down from a 56%-majority that gave it the thumbs up in 2000.
Read the full report States of the Union Before and After Bush on the Pew Research Center's Web site.