Poll Asks Are America's Best Days Ahead Or Behind?

By Jeff Neumeyer

July 4, 2011 Updated Jul 4, 2011 at 5:33 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- On the Fourth of July, a day of celebration for our nation, are you optimistic about the future of America?

The holiday is a time for family fun, enjoyment of good food, and reflection on what makes this country great.

But is there reason to think America is in decline?

Results of a recent survey might raise some eyebrows.

Rasmussen Reports conducted a national survey June 26th and 27th, to gauge public opinion about how we're doing as a nation.

1,000 likely voters were asked, "When you think about our nation in the context of history, are America's best days in the future or in the past?"

46 percent said our best days are in the past.

37 percent of those polled said those best days are yet to come.

16 percent said they're not sure.

We ventured to Lakeside Park to do our own unscientific poll on the subject.

Jeff Rose/Best Days in the Past: " I guess I agree with the Best Days being behind us, because of the global economy and the compression of salaries, that as salaries increase in some of the other countries in the world we've outsourced to, salaries have to go down in this country."

Dean Baughman/Optimistic About What's Ahead: " Good things are out there, bad things are out there, and what we make of them is up to us."

Mary Nance/America's Future to be Determined: " I would like to be optimistic and think that the future of America is promising, but I think it's all about its citizenry and the important changes and choices that we make."

Rasmussen Reports seeks answers to this question periodically.

Generally, those polls have found optimism ranging anywhere from 31% to 48% since late 2006.

The result in this latest poll is right in the middle of that range.

In the same poll, 65% of respondents said smaller government with fewer services and lower taxes is the better way to usher in a better future for America.

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