Like most economists, many Americans think the worst of the nation's economic troubles are in the past. The latest FOX News poll finds that 44 percent say the worst is over -- up significantly from 27 percent who thought so in April.
Still, nearly half of the public (49 percent) says the worst is yet to come, down significantly from 66 percent from five months ago.
With improvements in the economy and only a fraction of the stimulus money having been spent so far, most Americans -- 72 percent -- say returning the unused portion of the $787 billion dollar stimulus to taxpayers would do more to boost the economy than having the government spend it. Majorities of Democrats (59 percent), Republicans (87 percent) and independents (70 percent) think the money should be returned to taxpayers.
Despite Obama's campaign pledge that 95 percent of Americans would "not see their taxes increase by a single dime," some administration officials have recently refused to rule out tax increases. More Americans -- by a 43-point margin -- think Obama is not going to be able to keep this campaign promise on taxes (69 percent to 26 percent).
In fact, the consensus is taxes will go up. Most Americans -- 75 percent -- think their taxes will increase under the Obama administration. That's up from 60 percent who thought so at the beginning of the year (13-14 January 2009).
A 57 percent majority of Democrats thinks their taxes will increase, up from 42 percent who thought so at the beginning of the year. Large majorities of Republicans (95 percent) and independents (75 percent) also think their taxes will go up during Obama's presidency.
Opinion Dynamics Corp. conducted the national telephone poll of 900 registered voters for FOX News from August 11 to August 12. The poll has a 3-point error margin.
Rating the President and Congress
The president's approval rating drops a point this month and hits a new low of 53 percent, down from 54 percent approval in July. The high-water mark for President Obama was 65 percent approval during his first week in office (27-28 January 2009). His average approval to date is 60 percent.
In addition, while a 57 percent majority says Obama's job performance is about what they expected it to be, slightly more people now say he is doing a worse job (23 percent) than say he is doing a better job than they expected (18 percent).
With the president traveling the country to discuss health care and the economy, almost half of Americans (49 percent) say they would like to see less of Obama on television, up from 36 percent who felt that way previously (3-4 March 2009).
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton outshines her boss with a 66 percent approval job rating, up from 56 percent in April.
Overall, 38 percent of Americans say they are very or somewhat satisfied with the way things are going in the country right now. While the current level of satisfaction is down from the 46 percent who were satisfied in April, it's up from 20 percent just before Obama took office in mid-January.
Satisfaction is down among the president's party faithful, as 59 percent of Democrats say they are satisfied with the way things are going, down from 73 percent who said so in April.
All in all, more than 6 in 10 Americans (61 percent) say they are dissatisfied with the direction of the country, up from 53 percent.
Only 30 percent of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing, while almost twice as many -- 59 percent -- disapprove.