Economic Pessimism At 15 Year High
While Congress fiddles, the American people are looking around and not feeling very good about the future:
Americans are more pessimistic about where the economy will be a year from now than they have been at any time in almost the last 15 years, a new poll Monday showed.
In all, 59 percent of those surveyed for a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll said they expect economic conditions in the United States to be poor a year from now, while 40 percent expect conditions to be good. That’s the highest percentage since CNN began asking the poll question in October, 1997
Twenty-nine percent of those surveyed said they expect the economy to be “very” poor a year from now, while 30 percent said they think it will be “somewhat” poor. At the same time, just four percent of those surveyed said they think the economy will be in “very” good shape next year, while 36 percent said they think it will be “somewhat” good.
Negative outlooks have hit the 50 percent mark or higher only once before, when half of those surveyed in September 2005 said they thought the economy would be in poor condition a year later.
Views of where the economy stands right now are even more negative. Eighty-four percent of those surveyed said they think the economy is in poor condition, while just 16 percent said it is in good shape.
And when it comes to who they are holding responsible for the conditions they see ahead of us, the news is not very good for the GOP:
Half of those surveyed by CNN were asked whether Democrats or Republicans were more responsible for the economy’s current economic problems, and 38 percent of them pointed to Democrats, while 35 percent pointed to Republicans and 22 percent said both parties were to blame.
By contrast, when asked whether the policies of President Barack Obama and the Democrats or President George W. Bush and the Republicans were more responsible for the economy’s current condition, 29 percent pointed to Obama while 57 percent pointed to Bush.
It’s somewhat amazing that, two years after he left office, the negative opinion of President Bush would be so high high that a majority of those surveyed would still hold him responsible for the condition of the country rather than the man who has been President of the United States since January 20, 2009. Republican partisans, no doubt, will blame this all on media bias but I think it’s pretty clear that the bad feelings toward Bush 43’s polices still exist, suggesting that he’s unlikely to enjoy a renaissance in public opinion any time in the near future.
These numbers also contain a lesson for the GOP, I think. If, as some suggest, they end up sharing the majority of the blame if there’s no debt deal reached and the economy worsens because the debt ceiling was not raised, then they could end up paying quite a price indeed come November 2012