Americans Still Very Pessimistic on the Economy

Over two-thirds of U.S. adults believe country is still in a recession

Sep 26, 2011, 06:04 ET from Harris Interactive

NEW YORK, Sept. 26, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- As Americans continue to struggle financially and as the financial markets continue to have large swings, it is not surprising that U.S. adults are expressing very negative feelings on the economy and the job market.  Looking at the President's ratings, just one in five Americans (21%) give him positive ratings on his handling of the economy while 79% give him negative ratings. In July, 26% of U.S. adults gave the President positive ratings while 74% gave him negative marks.  When it comes to his handling of the economy, even large majorities of Democrats (58%) and Liberals (64%) give President Obama negative ratings.

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These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,462 adults surveyed online between September 12 and 19, 2011 by Harris Interactive.

The economy

Looking at the economy in general, it seems people are continuing to be pessimistic. In July, one-quarter of Americans (23%) expected the overall economy to improve in the coming year, two in five (41%) thought it would stay the same and a little over one-third (37%) thought it would get worse. This month, 45% think the economy will stay the same, 34% believe it will get worse and 21% think it will get better in the coming year.

Breaking down economic conditions to a regional level, just one in ten Americans rate the economic condition of their region of the country as good (12%), 22% say it is neither good nor bad and two-thirds (65%) say it is bad. In May, one in five U.S. adults (18%) thought the economy in their region was good, 23% said it was neither good nor bad and three in five (59%) said it was bad.

The job market

Hand in hand with pessimism on the overall economy is pessimism on the job market. Two-thirds of Americans (67%) rate the current job market in their region of the country as bad, one in ten (11%) rate it as good and 22% say it is neither good nor bad. In July, 64% of U.S. adults said the job market was bad, 12% said it was good and 24% said it was neither good nor bad.

Recession?

As many questions swirl about a double dip recession, a large majority of Americans do not even think we've come out of the first recession. Seven in ten U.S. adults (69%) say the United States is still in a recession while one in ten say the U.S. came out of a recession but will now enter a new recession (11%) and another one in ten say the U.S. has come out of a recession and the economy is growing (10%).  There is a partisan difference as well with three-quarters of Republicans (76%) saying we are still in a recession compared to 69% of Independents and 65% of Democrats.

So What?

Americans are waiting for answers on when the economy is going to turn around. Right now, they do not have much optimism that things are going to get better soon. In fact, contrary to what economists have been saying, Americans do not even think we have come out of the recession. President Obama went to Congress to talk about jobs. Now they have to agree on and pass legislation that show voters they understand their concerns. Until this happens, the pessimism will likely remain.

TABLE 1

PRESIDENT OBAMA'S JOB RATING ON THE ECONOMY - TREND

"Now, turning to something different, how would you rate the overall job that President Barack Obama is doing on the economy?"

Base: All adults



2009

March

April

May

June

Aug

Sept

Nov

Dec

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

POSITIVE (NET)

47

49

46

43

39

40

34

36

     Excellent

13

13

10

3

9

7

6

6

     Pretty good

34

36

36

34

31

33

27

30

NEGATIVE (NET)

53

51

54

57

61

60

66

64

     Only fair

30

27

30

27

25

27

30

30

     Poor

23

24

24

30

36

33

37

34






2010

Jan

Mar

Apr

May

June

Aug

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

POSITIVE (NET)

31

32

33

36

32

32

29

27

31

30

     Excellent

5

5

6

6

5

6

5

5

5

5

     Pretty good

25

27

27

30

27

26

24

22

26

25

NEGATIVE (NET)

69

68

67

64

68

68

71

73

69

70

     Only fair

31

30

31

29

32

29

31

33

30

34

     Poor

39

37

36

34

37

39

40

39

39

36






2011

Jan

Feb*

Mar

May

June

July

Sept.

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

POSITIVE (NET)

33

33

33

32

27

26

21

     Excellent

7

9

5

7

5

3

2

     Pretty good

26

24

28

26

22

23

18

NEGATIVE (NET)

67

62

67

68

73

74

79

     Only fair

30

22

29

28

30

33

33

     Poor

37

39

38

40

43

41

46


Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding; *In February "Not at all sure" was offered as a response choice and 4% responded in that way.



TABLE 2

PRESIDENT OBAMA'S JOB RATING ON THE ECONOMY – BY POLITICAL PARTY

"Now, turning to something different, how would you rate the overall job that President Barack Obama is doing on the economy?"

Base: All adults



Total

Political Party

Philosophy

Rep.

Dem.

Ind.

Cons.

Mod.

Lib.

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

POSITIVE (NET)

21

3

42

18

6

24

36

     Excellent

2

1

4

3

2

3

2

     Pretty good

18

2

38

15

5

21

34

NEGATIVE (NET)

79

97

58

82

94

76

64

     Only fair

33

18

41

37

17

39

46

     Poor

46

80

17

46

77

37

17


Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding; * indicates less than .05%



TABLE 3

EXPECTATIONS FOR THE ECONOMY IN THE COMING YEAR - TREND

"In the coming year, do you expect the economy to…?"

Base: All adults



2009

2010

2011

April

May

Aug

Sept

Oct

May

June

Aug

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

Feb

June

July

Sept

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Improve

39

38

46

40

34

38

30

29

28

30

34

29

34

26

23

21

Stay the same

35

35

32

36

37

34

42

39

40

40

41

45

42

41

41

45

Get worse

26

27

22

24

29

28

28

32

32

30

25

26

25

33

37

34


Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding



TABLE 4

RATING OF ECONOMIC CONDITIONS IN REGION - TREND

"How would you rate the economic condition of your region of the nation?"

Base:  All adults



2008

2009

2011

2011

Nov.

Jan.

May

Sept.

%

%

%

%

GOOD (NET)

10

10

18

12

 Very good

1

1

4

2

 Somewhat good

9

9

14

11

Neither good nor bad

16

17

23

22

BAD (NET)

74

72

59

65

 Somewhat bad

45

46

36

39

 Very bad

28

26

23

26


Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding



TABLE 5

RATING OF CURRENT JOB MARKET - TREND

"How would you rate the current job market of your region of the nation?"

Base:  All adults



2008

2009

June

July

Jan

April

June

Aug

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

GOOD (NET)

28

30

6

12

9

8

10

10

8

9

Neither good nor bad

18

19

18

20

19

21

22

20

18

19

BAD (NET)

53

51

76

68

72

71

68

70

73

72






2010

Jan

Mar.

April

May

June

Aug

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

GOOD (NET)

10

8

10

12

10

12

10

13

11

13

Neither good nor bad

20

18

21

20

25

22

21

21

23

24

BAD (NET)

70

73

70

68

66

66

69

66

66

63






Jan

Feb

March

May

July

Sept

%

%

%

%

%

%

GOOD (NET)

13

15

13

16

12

11

Neither good nor bad

22

24

22

23

24

22

BAD (NET)

65

61

65

61

64

67


Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding



TABLE 6

RATING OF CURRENT JOB MARKET IN YOUR REGION – BY REGION

"How would you rate the current job market of your region of the nation?"

Base:  All adults



Total

Region

East

Midwest

South

West

%

%

%

%

%

GOOD (NET)

11

11

11

14

9

 Very good

1

1

3

*

2

 Somewhat good

10

10

8

13

7

Neither good nor bad

22

25

16

25

20

BAD (NET)

67

65

73

62

71

 Somewhat bad

39

40

40

38

39

 Very bad

28

25

33

23

32


Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding; * indicates less than .05%



TABLE 7

ARE WE IN A RECESSION?

"Thinking of the U.S. economy, which statement below is closest to your view?"

Base:  All adults



Total

Political Party

Rep.

Dem.

Ind.

%

%

%

%

The U.S. is still in a recession

69

76

65

69

The U.S. came out of a recession but will now enter a new recession

11

12

11

10

The U.S. has come out of a recession and the economy is growing

10

4

13

11

Not at all sure

11

7

11

10


Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding



Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between September 12 and 19, 2011 among 2,462 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.

J40805

Q705, 710, 715, 720, 730

The Harris Poll® #102, September 26, 2011

By Regina A. Corso, SVP, Harris Poll, Public Relations and Youth Research, Harris Interactive

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American and European offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

SOURCE Harris Interactive



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