Even more pessimistic when it comes to jobs, survey says.
The message from the White House and from economists over the past few months is that the economy has turned the corner. The economy is getting better, but jobs and employment may lag behind other good economic indicators. While they may hear all of this, the American public may not be quite ready to embrace this good news, nor the messenger. Two-thirds of Americans (67%) give President Obama negative ratings on the overall job he is doing on the economy while 33% give him positive ratings. This is almost unchanged from last month when 68% gave him negative ratings and 32% gave the president positive marks on the economy.
These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,755 adults surveyed online between April 12 and 19, 2010 by Harris Interactive.
Looking ahead, in the coming year one-third of Americans (32%) are optimistic and expect the economy to improve, one third (33%) say it will stay the same and one-quarter (25%) are more pessimistic and believe it will get worse. Six months ago, in October, attitudes were similar. One-third of U.S. adults (34%) thought that the economy would improve in the coming year, 37% thought it would stay the same and 29% believed it would get worse.
Personal Financial Situations
Thinking about their personal finances compared to one year ago, less than one-quarter of Americans (23%) say they feel more secure about their financial situation while one-third (32%) feel the same as last year. More than two in five U.S. adults (43%) say they feel less secure about their financial situation when compared to last year.
In the next six months, one in five Americans (22%) believe their household’s financial condition will be better while half (50%) believe it will remain the same and three in ten (29%) say it will be worse. Much of the reason for these feelings is that just 17% of U.S. adults believe the economy has already started growing, and one in ten (9%) say it will start growing in the next six months. Just under one in five Americans (17%) think the economy will not start growing for another 6 to 12 months and two in five (39%) say it will not grow for another year or longer. What should make the White House happy is the number of Americans who believe the economy has already started growing has increased since June of last year. Then, 7% thought it was already growing; by January of this year 14% of Americans believed it was growing and in March 12% believed the same.
The overall economic front may be slowly improving, but attitudes are still overwhelmingly negative when it comes to jobs and employment. Just one in ten Americans (10%) say the current job market of their region of the country is good while one in five (21%) say it is neither good nor bad and seven in ten (70%) say it is bad. Westerners are most negative about jobs, as over three-quarters (77%) say the current job market in their region is bad, with 36% saying it is very bad.
One in ten Americans say the job market has already started growing and 12% believe it will begin growing in the next six months. One in five (21%) say it will start growing between 6 and 12 months from now, but two in five (38%) say it will not start growing for another year or longer.
In the immortal words of James Carville and George Stephanopoulos, “It’s the economy, stupid!” This is something the White House needs to make sure they don’t forget, as it is never far from the minds of most Americans. Until there is a more prevalent feeling of economic security, there is going to be a sense of unease about how President Obama is handling it. And, while his re-election is not for another two and a half years, members of Congress should be even more nervous since their midterm elections are almost upon us. A bad economy tends to turn voters against incumbents.