06:37 AM PST on Friday, January 29, 2010

By JIM MILLER
Sacramento Bureau

SACRAMENTO – Fewer Californians think the nation is on the right track compared to three months ago, with only a small percentage of voters happy with the direction of the state, according to a new Field Poll.

Today’s survey shows that 41 percent of voters think the country is on the right track, down from 48 percent in October. Forty-nine percent of voters think the country is on the wrong track, up from 41 percent.

The shift reflects an increase in pessimism among Democrats, self-described liberals and young and middle-aged men, according to the survey results.

“These were Obama enthusiasts, and they were kind of wildly enthusiastic when he took the reins after George Bush,” Field Poll director Mark DiCamillo said. “But now they are more moderate in their view of where the country is going.”

Ideology influences how people view the country’s direction, the poll found. Fifty-seven percent of Obama’s fellow Democrats think that the country is on the right track, followed by 47 percent of independents and only 15 percent of Republicans.

Of those voters who identify with the “tea party” protests that have attacked perceived government overspending, just 1 percent of voters are pleased with the country’s direction, the poll shows.

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