Fox News Poll: More Than One in Four Scared About Country's Fiscal Future

Most voters are “concerned” or even “scared” about the economy, and less than half say they are confident in President Obama’s leadership on fiscal issues.

That’s according to a Fox News poll released Thursday.

While many experts believe the economy has been getting stronger, voters aren’t convinced: a decisive 82 percent majority thinks the country is still in a recession -- including 38 percent who think things could get worse.

In addition, 28 percent feel “scared” about the country’s financial future, and another 52 percent feel “concerned, but not scared.”

Some 15 percent feel “confident, but not enthusiastic” about the economy’s future, while hardly any -- 4 percent -- describe their feelings as “enthusiastic.”

Most voters -- 69 percent -- are dissatisfied with how things are going in the country today, up from 61 percent who felt that way at the beginning of the year (January 2011).

Click here for full poll results.

Immediately before Obama took office, 79 percent were dissatisfied (January 2009). That number dropped to 53 percent around the administration’s “100-day mark” (April 2009). It has steadily increased since.

President Obama’s job rating is decidedly mixed. An equal number -- 47 percent -- approve and disapprove. In early April, 49 percent approved and 47 percent disapproved (April 3-5).

Democrats (80 percent approve) and Republicans (86 percent disapprove) breakdown along party lines on the president’s job performance. For independents, 38 percent approve, while 51 percent disapprove of the way Obama is handling his job.

Likewise, 47 percent of voters are confident in the president’s leadership on fiscal issues, while just over half -- 52 percent -- are not.

Still, by 37-30 percent, more voters prefer President Obama’s plan to reduce the nation’s debt over the one proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). Eleven percent doesn’t agree with either plan, while 21 percent are unsure or say it is too soon to tell. The president’s plan includes some spending cuts as well as tax increases, while Ryan’s plan includes major changes to entitlement programs, such as Medicare.

Few voters would support raising the national debt ceiling without also setting restrictions on spending (9 percent). Some 43 percent would vote to raise the limit only if it is accompanied by “significant” spending cuts, while 42 percent would vote against raising the limit no matter what.

From a list of seven possible ways to reduce the deficit, the most popular among voters are: reducing the number of government employee (63 percent favor) and increasing taxes on high-income households (63 percent favor), followed by increasing taxes on corporations (48 percent) and reducing defense spending (45 percent).

The least popular suggestions are introducing a national sales tax on top of existing taxes (16 percent favor), reforming Medicare (31 percent favor) and raising the eligibility age for Social Security (34 percent favor).

Voters believe the country could close much of the budget shortfall simply by cutting government waste. One voter in four (24 percent) thinks there is so much waste and fraud in the government and entitlement programs that if all of it were cut, the country could eventually eliminate the debt without raising taxes. In addition, 53 percent think if government waste were cut that the debt could be reduced by half without raising taxes.

The Fox News poll is based on landline and cell phone interviews with 911 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from April 25 to April 27. For the total sample, it has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.