A survey, conducted late last month, found that 62% of Americans–8 percentage points more than in April–say that the nation is “on the wrong track.” Forty percent think that the economy will get worse over the next year, up from 27% who held that view four months earlier. The poll also found that many Americans say they are moving toward a more conservative approach to their personal finances as a result of the recession. Only 34% say that spending more money is very or extremely important for economic recovery. An increasing number of Americans are pessimistic about the economic outlook over the next year.
But more people still trust President Obama (42 percent) than Republicans in Congress (37 percent) to find economic solutions. The president’s edge, however, has narrowed dramatically in the past year from 21 percent in September 2009 to 7 percent in April and to 5 percent in the most recent results. Facing economic uncertainty, fewer people trust that the country’s institutions will help. Asked to compare their perceptions today with those of a year ago, 58 percent of people are less confident in elected officials in Washington, 54 percent are less confident in corporations, and a similar majority has lost confidence in major banks. Leadership, according to 60 percent of Americans, should come from a joint effort between the government and business, rather than from one or the other.