POLL- 55% Americans think US in Recession or Depression

Posted on April 29, 2011



More than half of Americans (55%) describe the U.S. economy as being in a recession or depression, even as the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) reports that “the economic recovery is proceeding at a moderate pace.” Another 16% of Americans say the economy is “slowing down,” and only 27% believe it is growing.

Trend: Americans' Ratings of Current Direction of Economy

While most Americans seem to disagree with the FOMC’s characterization of the economy, their current assessment is better than that of September 2008 — during the height of the financial crisis — when 69% said the economy was in a recession or depression. On the other hand, current attitudes are more downbeat, overall, than they were in early February 2008, when 45% considered the economy to be in either a recession or a depression. However, Americans are much more likely today to perceive the economy as growing rather than slowing down.

Democrats Give Better Ratings Than Republicans and Tea Party Supporters

Forty-two percent of Democrats say the economy is growing — essentially the same as the 43% from that party who say the economy is in a recession or depression. Democrats are much more positive on the economy than their Republican counterparts, 68% of whom describe the economy as in recession or depression, while 14% say it is growing. Tea Party supporters’ ratings are similar to Republicans’, and independents’ ratings are about midway between those from the two major parties.

Americans' Ratings of Current Direction of Economy, by Party ID and Tea Party Supporters, April 2011

Nearly One-Third of Upper-Income Americans Say Economy Is Growing

Fifty-two percent of upper-income Americans say the economy is in a recession or depression and 31% think it is growing. These ratings, though not good, are better than lower-income Americans’ ratings: 65% of this group says the economy is in a recession or depression and 21% say it is growing.