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4/28: Recovery … What Recovery?

Barbara Carvalho

4/28: Recovery … What Recovery?

You’d think with the “official” economic recession long over, according to the calculations of economists, and with President Obama and Wall Street imploring the Congress not to do anything to disrupt the supposed economic rebound, that maybe, just maybe, it would show up in the national poll numbers.   Well, hold onto your seats, folks, because it doesn’t!

So, what’s going on in the realm of public opinion?  Is the public not plugged into what the economists know? Or, are the economists not in touch with what the public continues to experience?

About 7 in 10 Americans, according to the latest McClatchy-Marist Poll, still believe the nation is mired in an economic recession.  Admittedly, this represents a drop from the 79% who felt this way in December, but, it’s consistent with the 71% who shared this view in January.

And, what about the future?  A majority of Americans, 57%, think the worst is yet to come for the U.S. economy.  Only 39% tell us the worst is behind us.  That’s a flip in the numbers from January when the holiday economic bounce led 39% of people to think the worst was yet to come but an encouraging 54% thought the worst had passed.

Although people divide between those who think their personal finances will get better or worse in the coming year, this isn’t exactly anything to write home about.  Instead, it’s a departure from prior polls when more people thought their personal finances would improve in the future instead of worsen.

How does this translate for President Obama and his re-election prospects?  Well, already 57% of voters nationwide disapprove of his handling of the economy, typically an ominous sign for an incumbent.  But, voters don’t yet blame him for sky-rocketing gas prices, and by more than 2 to 1 they think these economic conditions are mostly something he inherited rather than the result of his own policies.  Expect the president to periodically remind voters of this perception as he transitions into campaign mode.

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