Newsmax Poll: 61% Alarmed About Obama's Economy

Tuesday, 16 Aug 2011 10:30 AM

By David A. Patten

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An exclusive Newsmax/InsiderAdvantage poll shows that only 13.4 percent of voters still feel confident about the economy, while a stunning 61 percent describe themselves as either “alarmed” or “somewhat alarmed.”

Another 22.3 percent describe themselves as “uncertain” regarding how the current economy will affect them and their families.

Perhaps most worrisome for the Obama administration: Swing voters appear to have lost faith in President Barack Obama’s performance on the economy. Only 35 percent of them somewhat approve or approve of Obama’s economic job performance, compared with 58 percent who either somewhat disapprove or disapprove.

The survey results, released today, give the strongest indication to date that wild stock-market gyrations on Wall Street and dismal economic growth have done serious — perhaps lasting — damage to consumer confidence.

InsiderAdvantage CEO and pollster Matt Towery tells Newsmax that the public ordinarily gives moderate responses to questions about the economy. But the poll results suggest that consumers have “gone overboard” after a spate of bad news that includes a spreading European debt crisis and the recent S & P downgrade of the U.S. credit rating, he says.

“When you have a majority saying they’re ‘somewhat alarmed’ or ‘alarmed,’ it tells us we have a major problem on our hands,” Towery says. “Because if the public is alarmed, they’re not going to be spending as much . . . When you use the word alarm, that’s a very strong word. When more than 60 percent say they’re alarmed, that’s very concerning.”

Economists apparently share consumers’ concerns. According to a USA Today survey of economists Monday, the chance of a double-dip recession now stands at 30 percent. That’s twice as high as the odds the economists gave just three months ago.

Also, a Gallup poll last week showed U.S. economic confidence has plunged to its lowest level since the country was mired in recession in March 2009. And the Wells Fargo-Gallup Small Business Index shows the percentage of small-business owners who expect to add more jobs in the next 12 months plummeting, from 23 percent in January to 16 percent last month.

“What we’re seeing here is that, if Obama doesn’t improve his numbers, he will be slaughtered,” Towery says. “And it doesn’t matter who runs against him, whether it is Michele Bachmann or Perry or Romney, they’ll beat him. He’s got to get his numbers up now.”

The exclusive Newsmax poll asked voters: “What is the best phrase that describes how you feel about the current economy as it relates to you and your family?”

The choices were: confident, uncertain, somewhat alarmed, alarmed, and no opinion.

Only 13.4 percent said they felt “confident,” while 22 percent were “uncertain.” One-fourth described themselves as “somewhat alarmed,” 37 percent described themselves as “alarmed,” and 3.3 percent offered no opinion.

The nonpartisan InsiderAdvantage firm polled 1,601 respondents nationwide.

“If you take the alarmed and the uncertain together, you realize that only 13 percent of the entire country feels confident,” Towery says. “I don’t know who they are, I don’t know where they are – but they’re nuts . . . I don’t know where they’re getting their confidence from: Maybe from a check they’re getting from the government.”

Perhaps the most worrisome result for Obama’s re-election campaign, given the importance of swing voters, is that a whopping 39.8 percent of independents describe themselves as “alarmed” about the economy.

“That’s why he’s got such trouble. Barack Obama was elected on independent votes. Among independents, he is absolutely getting creamed,” Towery says.

Mark Zandi, the chief economist for Moody’s Analytics, said Monday that the fundamentals of the economy probably are strong enough to avert a double-dip recession. He told USA Today the biggest problem facing the nation is “a crisis of confidence.”

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