Most Individuals falsely suppose the U.S. is in recession, ballot reveals

The “Fearless Girl,” a bronze sculpture by Kristen Visbal, stands in front of the New York Stock Exchange building in New York City on May 31, 2023.

Timothy A. Clary | AFP | Getty Images

More than half of Americans think the United States is in an economic recession, although gross domestic product has been increasing for the past several years.

According to a new Guardian/Harris poll, 56% of respondents said they believe the U.S. is in a recession and 58% say that President Joe Biden is responsible for what they see as an economic downturn.

A recession is an extended period of economic decline, usually designated when GDP has declined for two or more consecutive fiscal quarters.

Under those terms, the U.S. is definitively not in a recession.

GDP grew by 1.6% in the first quarter of 2024. Granted, that is a decelerated rate from the 3.3% growth of the fourth quarter of 2023, but it is not recessionary. U.S. GDP growth has been outpacing that of other developed nations.

“America has the best economy in the world,” Biden told NBC’s “TODAY” in April.

The Guardian/Harris poll is yet another example of an ongoing gap between economic data and economic feelings that has nagged the Biden administration in recent months.

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Despite some positive signals that the economy is recovering from the pandemic chaos that disrupted supply chains and sent inflation skyrocketing, consumer attitudes have lagged, often driven by the high costs of daily living caused by stubbornly high inflation.

The Guardian/Harris poll comes less than six months before the November election, in which Biden will face former President Donald Trump. The Biden campaign is fighting to sell voters on the president’s economic record and shift the mood to recognize the economic gains the country has made since the pandemic.

“We know our work is not done,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said at a January briefing, nodding to the chasm between how the American economy is doing by the top-line numbers and how Americans are feeling about it.

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