Published June 22, 2011
As congressional budgeters warn of a debt crisis in the coming years, a new poll shows that 44 percent of Americans say they believe they are worse off under President Obama than in early 2009, when the economy was still technically in recession.
A Bloomberg National Poll shows that while the recession officially ended in June 2009, only 34 percent think they're better off than at the start of the president's administration. Fewer than a quarter of the people polled see signs the economy is improving.
The poll, taken June 17-20, also shows 66 percent of Americans think the U.S. is going in the wrong direction. At the same time, less than 10 percent say they expect unemployment levels to drop to pre-recession levels within the next two years, and more than half say they expect their children to live with a lower standard of living than they have.
That comports with a Fox News poll from last month that showed 59 percent of people think the economy is in worse shape compared to four years ago. Fifty-seven percent said the job situation in their area also is worse.
In the Bloomberg poll of 1,000 U.S. adults, 55 percent said that spending cuts, combined with tax cuts, would be more likely to succeed in expanding the economy. Seventeen percent to keep the current spending levels, and another 17 percent said to grow U.S. government spending.
Sixty-one percent of respondents said they are not willing to pay more taxes to reduce the deficit even if that means it will get bigger. Thirty-six percent were willing to pay more. However, a large majority -- nearly eight in 10 -- said they expected higher taxes to be inevitable.
Their resignation may do them well. A Congressional Budget Office report out Wednesday showed that the debt as a portion of the nation's total economic output rose 75 percent in the last three years -- from 40 percent of gross domestic product at the end of 2008 to an expected 70 percent at the end of 2011. CBO budgeters warned that the debt will become exponentially worse -- 190 percent of GDP in 2035 -- unless the government raises taxes so that federal spending can jump from 18 percent of GDP to 24 percent.
The poll numbers, however, do not fare well for the president. Among respondents, only 30 percent said they will definitely vote to re-elect Obama; 36 percent said they definitely will not.
Despite those poor numbers, one silver lining for Obama is that more respondents -- 40 percent to 37 percent -- said they favor his vision for the economy. Unfortunately for the president, that is a 12-percentage-point drop from three months ago.
National Economic Council President Gene Sperling said Wednesday that the president needs a second term because they want to try other ideas to help the economy.
"It's my hope that we're just barely through a quarter of President Obama's presidency, which means that, I hope, we are just a quarter of the way through the new ideas that we will do," he said at an Impact Economy Forum alongside Chief of Staff Bill Daley.
"We are hoping to be around for a while and we're hoping that we are just 25 percent through the new ideas, so please don't feel like anything is too late, there is a long time, it is going to be a long climb back from this deep recession. It is a long climb back to the kind of economy we want, and we will be needing the ideas that you have for a while, whether it's us, or someone else."
The Bloomberg poll conducted by Selzer & Co., of Des Moines, Iowa, has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.