Overwhelmingly, Americans feel gloomy about the country’s current economic condition and, even though a majority supports a war with Iraq, half think such a war will exacerbate economic troubles.

According to the latest FOX News poll, conducted by Opinion Dynamics Corporation, few people give the economy positive marks, with only one percent saying “excellent” and 13 percent rating the economy as in “good” shape. Altogether 85 percent rate it negatively — 41 percent say “only fair” and 44 percent say the economy is in “poor” condition.

In addition, 69 percent today think the country is still in a recession, up from 59 percent one year ago. Only a few believe the country never really was in a recession (18 percent) or that it is over (six percent).

Opinion is divided on the economic impact of the war on terrorism. About equal numbers believe the economic problems have been made “much worse” by the war on terror as believe the nation’s economy would have “suffered most of these problems anyway.”

Looking ahead, nearly half (49 percent) think the economy will be in better shape a year from now, down from 59 percent in January. About one-third think the economy will be worse next year, making these current expectations the lowest in two years.

"Consumers have supported the economy by borrowing and spending even as business spending has dropped," comments Opinion Dynamics President John Gorman. "As they grow more and more gloomy about both current conditions and the future of the economy, they are likely to take steps, such as curtailing spending, that could make the overall economic situation worse."

More people think invading Iraq will hurt the nation’s economy than think it will help. Half (51 percent) think if the United States goes to war it will damage the economy while 33 percent think war will help. (Currently, 62 percent of the public sees war with Iraq as inevitable.)

Fewer, 38 percent, think war with Iraq would hurt their own family’s finances, with 12 percent saying it would help their financial situation and 39 percent saying it would make no difference.

Polling was conducted by telephone March 11-12, 2003 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. On a scale of excellent, good, only fair and poor, how would you rate economic conditions today?

  Exclnt Good Fair Poor (NS)
11-12 Mar 03 1% 13 41 44 1
14-15 Jan 03 1% 12 46 40 1
8-9 Oct 02 LV 5% 20 44 30 1
9-10 Jul 02 1% 23 51 24 1
30 Apr-1 May 02 3% 27 53 16 1
9-10 Jan 02 2% 26 47 22 3
19-20 Sep 01 4% 25 45 24 2
11-12 Jul 01 4% 38 44 13 1
18-19 Apr 01 4% 35 45 14 2
14-15 Mar 01 3% 36 42 18 1
21-22 Feb 01 5% 41 44 9 1
10-11 Jan 01 9% 50 29 10 2
28-29 June 00 13% 49 27 9 2

2. A year from now, do you think the economy will be better or worse? Is that a lot (better/worse) or only a little (better/worse)?

  ---- Better ---- ---- Worse ----    
  TOT Lot Little TOT Little Lot (Not Sure) (No Change)
11-12 Mar 03 49% 16 33 34 17 17 14 3
14-15 Jan 03 59% 15 44 26 14 12 10 5
8-9 Oct 02 LV 64% 17 47 22 14 8 9 5
9-10 Jul 02 65% 17 48 21 14 7 9 5
30 Apr-1 May 02 69% 25 44 19 12 7 8 4
9-10 Jan 02 72% 29 43 14 11 3 8 6
19-20 Sep 01 65% 28 37 20 12 8 10 5
11-12 Jul 01 54% 15 39 27 17 10 10 9
18-19 Apr 01 52% 12 40 27 19 8 9 12
21-22 Feb 01 46% 9 37 34 23 11 12 8
10-11 Jan 01 36% 9 27 38 25 13 13 13
28-29 Jun 00 37% 7 30 32 23 9 17 14

3. 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 familythe 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)
11-12 Mar 03 6% 18 69 7
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

4. Do you think current problems with the nation's economy:

1. Have been made much worse because of the war on terror, or 43%
2. Would the economy have suffered most of these problems anyway? 44
3. (Not sure) 5
4. (Mixture) 8

5. Do you think cutting taxes now would help or hurt the nation's economy? Is that (help/hurt) a lot or a little?

1. Help a lot 16%
2. Help a little 23
3. Hurt a little 15
4. Hurt a lot 22
5. (No difference) 7
6. (Mixed/Both) 4
7. (Not sure) 13

6. If the United States goes to war with Iraq, do you think it will help or hurt the U.S. economy? Is that (help/hurt) the economy a lot or a little?

  ---- Help ---- ---- Hurt ----      
  TOT Lot Lttl TOT Lttl Lot (No diff) (Mixed/both) (NS)
11-12 Mar 03 33% 15 18 51 18 33 3 4 9
11-12 Feb 03 34% 16 18 48 19 29 3 6 9
8-9 Oct 02 46% 21% 25 39 19 20 3 5 7

7. If the United States goes to war with Iraq, do you think it will help or hurt your own family's financial situation? Is that (help/hurt) a lot or a little?

1. Help a lot 4%
2. Help a little 8
3. Hurt a little 18
4. Hurt a lot 20
5. (No difference) 39
6. (Mixed/Both) 2
7. (Not sure) 9