Americans Hit New Record on Economic Pessimism

Ruy Teixeira finds that for the first time, more than half of Americans believe that they are worse off now than they were a year ago.

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Just how sour are Americans getting on the economy? Well, the last time the public was asked whether we are currently in a recession, the public’s verdict was that we are, by an extraordinary 5-to-1 margin (78 to 17 percent). Not much ambiguity there.

And a recent Gallup poll finds that, for the first time in 32 years of asking the same question, a majority (55 percent) of the public now says that they are financially worse off now than they were one year ago. In other words, most Americans believe their economic situation is moving backward, not forward. A mere one-quarter (26 percent) of Americans think their financial situation has improved in the last year.

No wonder the economy is the number one issue on the minds of voters in this election year. An anxious public awaits—and needs—answers. Politicians and policymakers take heed or suffer the consequences.

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Ruy Teixeira

Former Senior Fellow

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