Could the worst of the nation’s economic woes be over? That’s the view of a majority of Americans. According to this national Marist Poll, 54% of adults believe, when thinking about the U.S. economy, the worst is behind us. 39%, however, say the worst is yet to come, and 7% are unsure. These findings are in stark contrast to Marist’s poll just last month. In that December survey, a majority — 53% — thought more bad news was on the economic horizon, and 39% reported the worst had passed. Eight percent, at the time, were unsure.
“Americans are beginning to see the light at the end of the economic tunnel,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “But, they still think there’s a long way to go.”
Most Democrats — 74% — and a majority of independents — 58% — state the worst of the country’s troubling economic times are behind us. Although a majority of Republicans — 52% — still see difficult times ahead, 43% are positive about the country’s economic future.
Recession a Reality in Americans’ Minds
Despite Americans’ views about the future of the U.S. economy, more than seven in ten U.S. residents still believe the nation is in a recession. 71% have this opinion while 24% do not. Only 5% are unsure. There has been a slight change on this question. When Marist last asked it in December, 79% thought the country was in a recession while 19% said it was not. Two percent, at that time, were unsure.
Fewer Voters Disapprove of Obama’s Handling of the Economy
President Obama is receiving a boost from voters’ more positive views toward the future of the economy. While voters nationally divide about the president’s handling of the economy, fewer now disapprove of Mr. Obama’s approach when compared with Marist’s late November survey. Currently, 48% disapprove of the way Mr. Obama is dealing with the economy while 44% approve. Eight percent are unsure. In Marist’s previous survey, a majority — 55% — disapproved, 42% approved, and 4% were unsure.
Not surprisingly, 60% of voters who believe the worst of the nation’s economic conditions are behind us approve of the president’s handling of the economy while 75% of those who think there is more bad economic news in the future disapprove of his performance on this issue.
Americans still don’t blame President Obama for the country’s economic troubles. 63% of registered voters think Mr. Obama inherited them from his predecessor while 25% believe they are a result of his own policies. 12% are unsure. When Marist last reported on this question in its November 29th survey, similar proportions held these views. 65% thought the president inherited the nation’s economic conditions while 28% attributed them to the president’s policies. Eight percent were unsure.