According to the latest broad poll conducted by Bloomberg, Americans, except for those on Wall Street of course, have never been more pessimistic on the economy, despite the administration's efforts to push stocks to 36,000 by Halloween. In a nutshell, 63% of respondents confirmed things in the nation are headed in the wrong direction, 71% disbelieve Kool Aid pushers and say it still feels like the economy is in a recession, with 13% convinced a double dip is coming, and just 14% who see the economy as being on solid ground. And the result that should be very troubling to the Keynesian fanatics out there, while 70% say reducing the unemployment rate is a key priority, 28% say that reducing the budget deficit should be first and foremost for Washington.
Other findings from Bloomberg:
Four months ahead of the midterm congressional elections, the poll’s results show a challenging climate for Democrats. The public mood is bleak, with 63 percent saying they believe the country is on the wrong track, the most negative reading of Obama’s presidency. After a year of economic growth, 71 percent say the economy is still in recession; another 13 percent say the economy is faltering and will dip back into recession.
Only 1 in 6 say they believe they are personally better off than they were 18 months ago, when President Barack Obama took office. They are more apt to see the economy today as deteriorating than improving.
More than half say they are responding to the economic climate by hunkering down. Fewer than a quarter say they are getting back to normal and only 16 percent are seeing opportunity and taking risks. The public’s posture is more pessimistic than the view of global investors polled a month earlier. In a poll of Bloomberg customers conducted June 2-3, more than twice as many respondents -- 35 percent -- said they are seeing opportunities and taking risks.
The public gives the Obama administration little credit for its tax cuts, which according to the Washington-based Tax Policy Center lowered federal income taxes for 93 percent of filers. Asked to compare their federal income taxes to what they paid during George W. Bush’s presidency, only 7 percent say they are lower; 20 percent say their taxes are higher and 65 percent say they are about the same.
“The debt that our kids are accumulating is going to be beyond belief,” says Jim Tympanick, 55, of Foxborough, Massachusetts, an independent who works in technology support. “I don’t see how it can be rectified without an increase in taxes.”
The White House hasn’t made much progress in selling its $862 billion economic stimulus package. Asked how their opinion of the stimulus has changed in recent months, respondents were divided about evenly among those who say they had become more supportive, those who are less supportive and those who haven’t changed their opinion.
Other high-profile spending plans undertaken in the wake of the financial crisis have fared worse. The assistance package to automobile companies is becoming less popular: 48 percent say they had become less supportive in recent months versus 17 percent who say they have become more supportive.
By a two-to-one margin, the public classifies the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Plan that Congress passed in 2008 as the financial industry teetered as an “unneeded bailout” rather than “necessary.”