In spite of somber economic indicators, Americans are feeling more optimistic about the future and Obama’s presidency. A Bloomberg Poll conducted June 15-18 revealed that 45 percent of those surveyed felt they were better off now than when Obama was inaugurated in 2009. Thirty-six percent felt they were worse off.
The poll results may reflect exhaustion with the constant barrage of negativity about the economy rather than significant improvement. Twenty-seven percent of those polled stated they were taking previously postponed trips in 2012. In March 2011, only 20 percent of respondents admitted taking such trips. Twenty-eight percent reported their income was greater than one year ago, compared to 22 percent who reported less income.
49 percent preferred Obama’s overall economic leadership over Romney’s anticipated policies, while 33 percent of respondents favored Romney. This is a seven percent improvement for Obama since March. 51 percent expressed support for Obama’s plan to boost infrastructure and green energy spending compared to 43 percent who prefer cutting the deficit as the path to economic stability and growth.
The improved outlook comes in spite of data that does not particularly support such optimism. Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley both cut their forecasted growth estimates .2 and .3 percent, respectively. Standard & Poor’s reported a one percent drop in their 500 Index since March. Other economic indicators also point to a lethargic economy. First-time unemployment claims, retail sales, factory output and consumer confidence all signal a downward economic trend.
In some cases, the sense of optimism is tempered with wariness. Forty-five percent of respondents expect the next generation to have lower standards of living compared to 28 percent who anticipate a higher standard. Even this number shows a 10 percent improvement from a year ago when 55 percent expected a drop in standards.
Read more at Business Week.