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President Obama’s approval rating is down to 46 percent from 54 percent just after the election, but the public still trusts his economic solutions over House Republicans’ by a margin of 8 percent, according to the latest Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll.

Only 17 percent of Americans approve of Congress and only 33 percent trust House Republicans to develop solutions to our economic problems.

The survey delves deep into the issues facing the middle class. And the major finding is that most Americans are not happy with the direction of the country and thus feel insecure about the future. A total of 60 percent of those surveyed said the country is on the “wrong track,” the highest percentage since March of last year.

Economic security seems tied to education, with 55 percent of non-college graduates fearing they might drop down the class ladder, compared to 49 percent of graduates. Notably, minorities are more optimistic about their future than white Americans.

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The American Dream is often defined as the belief that one can do better than one’s parents.

If that’s true, the American Dream is slipping from an increasing percentage of the public. Majorities believe that they have less opportunity to get ahead, less security and less financial income than their parents.

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These findings match up with recent comments from pollsters and strategists James Carville and Stan Greenberg, who say that a focus on the middle class — which has been in decline since the 70s — is the best strategy for Democrats who are looking to take back the House from the Republican Party.

In his State of the Union address, the president called on Congress to raise the minimum wage to $9 an hour, though it would be $10.50 today if adjusted for inflation. Since 1968, productivity has been rising, yet wages have not kept pace.

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A higher middle class is one of the “Top 6 Policies to Help the Middle Class That Won’t Cost Taxpayers a Penny” from the Center for American Progress. Other policies include making it easier to save for retirement, accumulate sick days and form a union.

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House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, left, and former President Donald Trump.

Photo by Kevin McCarthy (Public domain)

In the professional stratum of politics, few verities are treated with more reverence than the outcome of next year's midterm, when the Republican Party is deemed certain to recapture majorities in the House and Senate. With weary wisdom, any pol or pundit will cite the long string of elections that buttress this prediction.

Political history also tells us that many factors can influence an electoral result, including a national crisis or a change in economic conditions — in other words, things can change and even midterm elections are not entirely foretold. There have been a few exceptions to this rule, too.

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