Expectations negative as views of economy, finances worsen — CBS News poll

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Americans’ assessments and outlook for the economy are poor, with most anticipating at least a slowdown, if not a recession, in the coming year. On a personal level, views on their own finances are down from a year ago, and many voice concern about the ability to afford things, or to save, going forward. It’s an important sentiment because Americans’ views on spending can in turn impact the economy. On a brighter note, however, feelings about job security remain relatively more confident by comparison.

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Current assessments of the national economy are getting worse. Just 22% think it’s good — down even further from 26% in May — while the percentage saying it’s “bad” has gone up to 75% — a new high for the Biden presidency. That is a 12-point rise since April.

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Majorities of Republicans, independents, and Democrats all rate the economy as bad. The 60% of Democrats who rate the economy bad is notable because it’s moving closer to the views of independents and Republicans, even though a president’s own party often gives rosier assessments than others. Democrats’ positive assessments have dropped over recent months. They were at 42% good last month.

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Americans feel increasingly insecure in their own personal financial and economic situation today, compared to a year ago. Just half describe it as fairly or very good, down from 60% a year ago. 

The pandemic had an impact from which many have still not recovered, either. Comparing things back to before it hit, just 13% of Americans say their own family’s financial situation is better than it was beforehand, and for four in 10, things are worse.

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In sum, most Americans describe the last few years for themselves and their families as “challenging” and “stressful.” 

Higher prices have particularly impacted many, more so than higher interest rates or the stock market. Most say the price of food and gas has affected them a lot, and most are concerned about their ability to pay for day-to-day things, to save money or to pay for a big-ticket item or take a vacation. 

Many do still plan outings or trips this summer — even as the longer-term concerns about savings, and even retirement, clearly weigh on them. 

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Seven in 10 working full- or part-time are concerned about their plans for retirement, and six in 10 parents of children under the age of 18 are concerned about their ability to pay for child care.

The public says there’s plenty of reasons for inflation, a mix of market forces and policies; most say it’s because costs for manufacturers and producers have gone up, and they also blame government spending during the pandemic, but most also feel companies are charging more to get higher profits. Relatively fewer, but still a majority, point to President Biden’s policies. (Democrats do not.)

A gas-tax holiday does find slight majority favor, even if it means less money would be available for roads, bridges and infrastructure, and it’s tempered by skepticism that it will actually lower prices.

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Overall, President Biden’s job approval rating is now at 41%, marking the lowest approval rating of his presidency. Biden gets negative ratings on most issues tested, but he receives his lowest marks for his handling of the economy and inflation — which the country puts at the top of the priority list of things to address.

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President Biden does continue to get positive marks for his handling of the coronavirus outbreak, and most think things are going well for the U.S. in its efforts to deal with it. But just about a third of Americans think of it as a high priority issue for the country these days.

A big majority favor the bipartisan gun policy bill that was recently passed by Congress and signed into law. 

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This poll was conducted mostly before the announcement of the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade. For public reaction to that decision read more of our polling here

This CBS News/YouGov survey was conducted with a nationally representative sample of 2,265 U.S. adult residents interviewed between June 22-24, 2022. The sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on the U.S. Census American Community Survey and Current Population Survey, as well as to 2020 presidential vote. The margin of error is ±2.6 points. 

Toplines:

Anthony Salvanto

Anthony Salvanto

Anthony Salvanto, Ph.D., is CBS News’ director of elections and surveys. He oversees all polling across the nation, states and congressional races, and heads the CBS News Decision Desk that estimates outcomes on election nights. He is the author of “Where Did You Get This Number: A Pollster’s Guide to Making Sense of the World,” from Simon & Schuster (a division of ViacomCBS), and appears regularly across all CBS News platforms. His scholarly research and writings cover topics on polling methodology, voting behavior, and sampling techniques.

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