By all accounts, the news about the economy — initial jobless claims, consumer confidence, retail sales – has been Not Good. But a new poll of 1,600 adults conducted June 15 – 18 by Selzer & Co. of Des Moines, Iowa, for Bloomberg News has found the opposite of the gloom and doom scenarios that have become all too common. 45 percent of those polled said they are better off than they were at the beginning of 2009 when President Barack Obama was inaugurated, as opposed to 36 percent who said they were worse off. Back in March, about half of poll respondents had said they were better off and half worse off.
44 percent described themselves as “treading water” as far as their household income. But 28 percent reported higher household income while 22 percent reported lower income.
27 percent they were taking “postponed trips” as compared to 21 percent in March of 2011.
14 percent said the market value of their houses had increased in the past year; back in December 2009, only 8 percent had reported the same. However, 33 percent said the value of their houses had declined.
Notably, 49 percent say they “prefer Obama’s economic vision to that of his presumptive Republican rival,” Mitt Romney. Some are displeased at Obama’s economic policies, characterizing him as doing a “hatchet job” on the economy. But others favor the president’s policies as providing “long-term solutions” for the economy; 51 percent to 43 percent are in factor of “the administration’s call to invest in infrastructure and alternative energy projects to boost hiring.” The latter figure stands out as, fifteen months ago, a majority of Americans supported congressional Republicans’ calls for the government to focus on deficit-cutting.
Poll’s Findings Contradict Recent Data
The respondents did express “hints of unease,” with a decline in respondents saying they are “hopeful” about improvements in the economy (32 percent, down from 37 percent in March) and more saying they are “fearful” about such (19 percent, up from 17 percent in March). Most (45 percent) think that American children can expect a lower standard of living than their parents have had; a year ago, 55 percent had said they thought this. 28 percent said they “retained their faith in the American Dream,” vs. 23 percent a year ago.
While 19 percent said that job security had improved for those in their household, 22 percent said it had declined. The divide is an improvement from December 2009, when 7 percent said job security had increased and 28 percent said it had worsened.
Overall, the Bloomberg poll offers “more unlikely cheer for the president” and “brightening assessments” that are indeed “at odds with recent data.” Respondents quoted expressed tentative hope:
“I’m hopeful for improvement, but I temper that with pragmatism,” says Catherine Lahey, 28, a sports marketing executive in DeLand, Florida.
“I started working full time and making more money,” says Nathan Blubaugh, 25, a mental health counselor in Media, Pennsylvania. “Things are getting better. They’re not getting better quickly, but they’re getting better.”
What do you think of this Bloomberg poll’s results? Are you feeling more fearful these days, or more hopeful?
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