About half of all Americans and two-thirds of Republicans feel the country is headed for a new recession, which poses a serious threat to President Barack Obama's reelection bid, according to a NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.
A total of 54 percent disapprove of the president's handling of the economy, while 49 percent approve.
The president's approval ratings shot up to 52 percent in May, but their swift retreat shows how quickly the economy can overshadow the spike in popularity that came with the killing of Osama bin Laden.
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"The public is incredibly pessimistic about the future," says Peter Hart, a Democratic pollster who conducts the NBC/WSJ poll with his Republican counterpart Bill McInturff.
|President Barack Obama
(Getty Images photo)
"The president has substantial advantages, but is still in for a difficult race."
One of those advantages is Obama's likeability factor: many say they like the president and 62 percent feel he inherited many of today's economic problems and did not cause them.
Yet when asked whether they'll reelect Obama or rally behind a Republican candidate in 2012, Obama led by a 45 to 40 margin, down from 49 percent to 30 percent in May.
Experts agree that making a dent in the nation's 9.1 percent unemployment rate is key for Obama's reelection.
"The pressure to come up with something is getting stronger all the time, because the numbers in the last two months have not been good," says Jeremy Mayer, an associate professor at the School of Public Policy at George Mason University, according to Reuters.
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