Almost all American voters think the country's economy is in bad shape, and few see benefits from the Obama administration’s economic policies. In fact, slightly more voters think the policies have hurt rather than helped the economy -- and many others think they have made no difference either way.
A Fox News poll released Friday found that more than 9 in 10 voters give the economy negative ratings: 40 percent rate economic conditions as “only fair” and another 51 percent say it is in “poor” shape.
Current views are almost identical to those held a year ago, when 39 percent said “only fair” and 52 percent said “poor” (January 2010).
The bright spot for the Obama administration is the large drop in the number rating the economy as “poor.” The week before he took office in January 2009, some 74 percent said it was in “poor” shape and now that’s down to 51 percent.
Still, only 8 percent of voters rate the current economy positively: 1 percent says it is in “excellent” condition and 7 percent says “good.” These ratings match those from a year ago exactly.
Have Obama’s Economic Policies Worked?
More voters think the economic policies of the Obama administration have hurt the economy (32 percent) than think they have helped (28 percent). The largest number -- 37 percent -- thinks they have made no difference.
Few -- 13 percent -- think the administration’s economic policies have helped them personally, and twice that many think the policies have hurt them (26 percent). A 60 percent majority thinks Obama’s policies haven’t made much of a difference to them either way.
On the issue of jobs, just over half of voters -- 52 percent -- say they know someone who has been unemployed and looking for a job for two years or more.
Views are fairly split on whether there truly aren’t any jobs out there (41 percent), or if it’s just that the available jobs are ones most people don’t want (46 percent).
Nearly half of voters (45 percent) say the economy and jobs should be the number one priority for the president and Congress this year. That’s about four times as many as the 17 percent who say the deficit and government spending should be Washington’s main focus. Next on the list is health care at 14 percent. Other issues such as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (4 percent), immigration (3 percent) and terrorism (2 percent) trail far behind in the single digits.
Republicans Seen as Better at Handling Key Issues
American voters think Republicans would do a better job than Democrats at handling most key issues.
More voters see Republicans as the party that would do a better job on terrorism (+18 points), the size of government (+18), the federal deficit (+11) and immigration (+10). They also hold the edge on handling the economy, though by a smaller margin (+3).
Voters favor Democrats as the party that would do better on job creation (+5 points) and health care (+4).
The issue of Afghanistan is essentially a tie: 36 percent say Republicans would do a better job, 34 percent Democrats, and 12 percent say both equally.
The National Debt and China
By a wide 20 percentage-point margin, more voters say they are worried about the national debt (50 percent) than about a possible terrorist attack (30 percent). Some 15 percent are worried about both.
Similar to the number worried about the debt, some 53 percent think it is at least somewhat likely the United States will have to ask China for a bailout in the next five years.
Does China pose a threat to the United States economically? Sixteen percent say yes, an immediate threat, and another 26 percent say it will in the near future. Forty-one percent think China will pose an economy threat to the country “further down the road.” Twelve percent don’t think it poses a threat at all.
When the focus is switched to China posing a military threat, just 7 percent think the threat is immediate. Some 16 percent think it will pose a military threat to the United States in the near future, while 43 percent say it will be further down the road. About one in four (28 percent) doesn’t think China is a military threat at all.
The national telephone poll was conducted for Fox News by Opinion Dynamics Corp. of 900 randomly chosen registered voters from Jan. 18 to Jan. 19. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points for the total sample.