10.05.2009 Policy Points

Public Opinion about the Economy

Recent media accounts of economic issues assume that the worst of the recession is over and that the American economy is growing again. This view, however, is not supported by a majority of registered voters.

A recent survey sponsored by the Economic Pograph number 1licy Institute found that 85 percent of American voters believe that the economy is still in a recession. Also, a majority of voters believes that unemployment is one of the two most important economic issues facing the country. Overall, 80 percent of voters see unemployment as a major problem, and 60 percent expect unemployment still will be a big story one year from now (graph).

Additionally, this recession is a very personal one: 57 percent of voters are personally close to someone who has been laid off and 61 percent are close to someone who has experienced a reduction in hours or pay.

graph 2In terms of economic recovery, two-thirds of voters claim that that the federal recovery package has had a positive but minor impact. Instead, voters feel that the federal government’s actions have favored banks and Wall Street (graph).

Going forward, voters say that more must be done to create jobs and aid the unemployed. Such efforts should take precedence over other issues like reducing the federal budget deficit.

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