Earlier this year Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan pronounced the recession over, but today almost two-thirds of the public say it feels like the country's economy is still in a recession.

The latest FOX News national poll, conducted by Opinion Dynamics Corporation, finds that 65 percent of Americans say, from their family's perspective, it feels like the country is in an economic recession, up from 51 percent who felt this way in late April. 

Similarly, only 10 percent now say the recession is over, down from 20 percent eight months ago.  The number saying the country never really was in a recession also dropped from 23 percent in late April to 16 percent today.

While there are clear differences between the political parties, majorities of both parties think the country is still in a recession.  Seventy-seven percent of Democrats and 54 percent of Republicans say the country hasn't recovered (as well as 66 percent of independents).

"Growing public concern about the economy is clearly something that the president and Congress are going to have to react to in the New Year," comments Opinion Dynamics President John Gorman.  "While the Democrats were unable to capitalize on this concern in the last election, if the concern continues to grow for another year, Republican prospects in 2004 will begin to dim."

Other results from the survey also show concern for the condition of the nation's economy.  Just over half of Americans (51 percent) say they are optimistic about the economy right now (20 percent say "strongly optimistic"), dropping 15 points from earlier this year and dropping 20 points from one year ago when 71 percent said they were optimistic (33 percent "strongly optimistic"). 

Overall, Republicans are much more optimistic about the economy than Democrats (66 percent to 37 percent), and almost four times as likely say they are strongly optimistic (32 percent compared to 9 percent).  A gender gap also appears in the optimism, with 59 percent of men compared to 44 percent of women saying they are optimistic.

Today, expectations for the economy are closer to what they were in July 2001, prior to the September 11 terrorist attacks, when 55 percent said they were optimistic (22 percent "strongly optimistic").

More Americans are concerned about the nation's economy than about terrorist attacks.  Fully 86 percent say they are concerned (50 percent "very concerned") about the economy, compared to 80 percent who say they are concerned about terrorist attacks (40 percent "very concerned").  When asked which of these two issues should be the top priority for the government to work on right now, opinion divides about equally between the economy and terrorism, but half are unable to put one higher than the other (51 percent volunteer the response "both").

Four in 10 say they usually need to spend all of their monthly income to pay for essentials, while just over half (53 percent) say they are able to put some money into savings every month.

Polling was conducted by telephone December 3-4, 2002 in the evenings. The sample is 900 registered voters nationwide with a margin of error of ±3 percentage points. Results are of registered voters, unless otherwise noted. LV = likely voters

1. Do you approve or disapprove of the job George W. Bush is doing as president?

  Approve Disapprove (DK)
3-4 Dec 02 65% 24 11
19-20 Nov 02 68% 20 12
22-23 Oct 02 LV 60% 30 10
8-9 Oct 02 LV 66% 21 13
24-25 Sep 02 65% 25 10

2. Do you approve or disapprove of the job President Bush is doing handling terrorism?

  Approve Disapprove (DK)
3-4 Dec 02 66% 22 12
24-25 Sep 02 70% 23 7

3. Do you approve or disapprove of the job President Bush is doing managing the economy?

  Approve Disapprove (DK)
3-4 Dec 02 47% 40 13
24-25 Sep 02 52% 36 12

4. In your everyday conversations with friends and neighbors, what topic would you say comes up most often these days? (OPEN ENDED)

  3-4 Dec 02 24-25 Sep 02 18-19 Jun 02
The economy 22% 9% 5%
9/11 /Terrorism/War on Terror 16 12 19
Iraq/Saddam Hussein 13 13 -
Family issues 7 5 7
Work/Jobs/Employment 6 3 3
Politics/Political issues 4 5 5
Education/Schools 3 3 2
Local issues 3 1 2
Sports 3 2 5
Stock market/Finances/Money 3 2 2
Current events/World news 2 3 6
Health Care 2 2 2
Weather 2 2 3
Elderly/Social Security 1 - 1
Middle East 1 2 3
Religion/Bible 1 1 2
Taxes 1 1 2
Drugs/Crime - 1 1
Catholic Church problems - - 7
Other/Nothing 6 5 6
(DK/ref) 4 28 17

5. Would you say you feel optimistic or pessimistic about the U.S. economy right now? (If optimistic/pessimistic) Is that strongly or only somewhat?

  Strongly opt Somewhat opt Somewhat pess Strongly pess (Neither) (Dk)
3-4 Dec 02 20% 31 28 13 3 5
26-27 Feb 02 31% 35 18 10 4 2
12-13 Dec 01 33% 38 16 8 - 5
3-4 Oct 01 34% 37 16 7 2 4
25-26 Jul 01 22% 33 22 15 3 5

6. Would you say you usually spend all of your money each month to pay for essentials, like food, rent/mortgage, and clothing, or are you usually able to put some money aside in savings each month?

1. Spend it all 40%
2. Save some 53
3. (Don't get paycheck) 3
4. (Not sure) 4

7. Which do you think is more important for the government to work on right now -- (helping the economy recover) or (protecting the country from terrorism)? (ROTATE CHOICES)

1. Helping the economy recover 22%
2. Protecting the country from terrorism 24
3. (Both) 51
4. (Neither) 1
5. (Not sure) 2

8. Some experts say the country's economic recession is over, while others say the country never really was in a recession. How did it feel to you and your family -- the recession happened and is over, there wasn't a recession at all, or do you feel like we're still in a recession?

  Over None Still in (Not Sure)
3-4 Dec 02 10% 16 65 9
30 Apr-1 May 02 20% 23 51 6
12-13 Mar 02 13% 20 59 8

How concerned are you about each of the following?
SCALE: 1. Very concerned 2. Somewhat concerned 3. Not very concerned 4. Not at all concerned 5. (Not sure)

9. Terrorist attacks

  Vry Smwt Ntvy Not (NS)
3-4 Dec 02 40% 40 14 4 2
22-23 Oct 02 LV 53% 35 8 3 1

10. Smallpox attacks by terrorists

  Vry Smwt Ntvy Not (NS)
3-4 Dec 02 29% 37 22 8 4
22-23 Oct 02 LV 33% 35 21 9 2

11. The nation's economy

  Vry Smwt Ntvy Not (NS)
3-4 Dec 02 50% 36 9 4 1
22-23 Oct 02 LV 58% 32 7 2 1

12. The stock market

  Vry Smwt Ntvy Not (NS)
3-4 Dec 02 35% 36 13 12 4
22-23 Oct 02 LV 42% 33 14 7 4