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Americans Getting a Touch Impatient About the Economy

Below, I pointed out the new CBS News poll has Bush's economic approval at just 36 percent. A fluke? Nope; it reflects the gathering economic pessimism of the US public as month after month of the economic recovery (now well over three years old) fails to generate the robust growth people have been looking for. Instead they're getting stagnant wages, persistent unemployment, signs of inflation and high energy prices.

Reflecting this disquiet, in a mid-March ARG poll, 46 percent said the economy was getting worse and just 27 percent said it was getting better. That compares to 39 percent better/30 worse in February. And, looking forward, 38 percent said the economy will be worse in a year, while just 30 percent said it will be better. That's quite a bit more pessimistic than in February, when 38 percent thought the economy will be better in a year and only 25 percent said it will get worse.

Similarly, a recent Gallup report notes:

Americans have become more pessimistic about the direction of the nation's economy. In Gallup's initial 2005 poll, 48% of Americans said the economy was getting better and 42% said worse. A more recent poll, conducted March 7-10, finds 41% say it is getting better and 50% say it is getting worse. That represents a net shift of 15 points, from a 6-point net positive assessment (48% better, 42% worse) to a 9-point net negative assessment (41% better, 50% worse).

The report goes on to note some detailed demographics about this shift toward economic pessimism, including the fact that, of 30 groups analyzed, 27 show a shift toward economic pessimism. Even worse for the Bush administration, the biggest shifts tend to be among the very groups that provided Bush with his biggest margins last November: whites (20 point shift toward economic pessimism); residents of the south (30 points); rural residents (37 points); those with $30-75K in household income (20 points); and those with some college (25 points).

The economy's "strong and getting stronger"? Not according to the voters Bush needs the most.