Voters are generally more optimistic about the direction of the country and the state than just before other recent elections, according to the latest Univ. of Texas/Texas Tribune poll (PDF).

Forty-two percent of respondents believe the nation is headed in the right direction and 49% believe it is on the wrong track. The minus-7 net rating is the second highest in the poll’s nine-year history, trailing only the minus-6 net rating back in June. In October 2014, only 25% of respondents believed the nation was on the right track while 65% believed it was on the wrong track, a net rating of minus-40. Four years earlier, the rating was almost identical: 25% right track, 64% wrong track.

In a related question, 32% of respondents believe the “national economy is a lot better off,” the highest number in the poll’s nine-year history. It was just 6% in October 2014 and 3% in October 2010. The percent of respondents believing the national economy is a “lot better off” has risen steadily since October 2016, when it was just 8%. During Barack Obama’s presidency, this percentage was in double digits just once (February 2015 – 11%).

As for the state of Texas, 50% of respondents believe it is headed in the right direction for the first time since June 2015, and 35% believe it is on the wrong track. The plus-15 net rating is the highest since June 2015 (+18) and is a 6-point increase since June (46/37). The current net rating is slightly higher than in October 2014 (+13) and October 2010 (+12). More respondents believe the state’s economy is “a lot better” or “somewhat better off” than a year ago that at any point in the poll’s history, slightly better than in February and June of this year, and 12 points better than in October 2014.

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