(Bloomberg) — More than 50 percent of Americans say they are worse off now than they were two years ago when President Barack Obama took office, and two-thirds believe the country is headed in the wrong direction, a Bloomberg National Poll shows.
A separate Bloomberg poll shows a majority of Americans are dissatisfied with the nation’s independent central bank, saying the U.S. Federal Reserve should either be brought under tighter political control or abolished outright.
The survey, conducted Dec. 4-7, finds that 51 percent of respondents think their situation has deteriorated, compared with 35 percent who say they’re doing better.
The balance isn’t sure. Americans have grown more downbeat about the country’s future in just the last couple of months, the poll shows. The pessimism cuts across political parties and age groups, and is common to both sexes.
The negative sentiment may cast a pall over the holiday shopping season, according to the poll. A plurality of those surveyed — 46 percent — expects to spend less this year than last; only 12 percent anticipate spending more. Holiday sales rose by just under a half percent last year after falling by almost 4 percent in 2008.
“It’s definitely different this year than it’s been,” says poll respondent Larry Deyo, a 38-year-old father of two in Marlton, New Jersey. “I can’t really do too much with spending.” He says he lost his job at a kitchen and bath design center when the company closed, and he’s now working at a Home Depot Inc. store with a “significant decrease” in pay.
It was President Ronald Reagan who popularized the question, “Are you better off or worse off than you were four years ago” in his 1980 campaign against Jimmy Carter.
By Rich Miller – Dec 8, 2010 9:00 PM PT