Yes, people are feeling somewhat better about the economy. ; But it remains a top concern, as most continue to think the economy is in bad shape. ; They also feel others have benefitted more than them from President Obama’s economic policies and, not surprisingly, tend to rate him negatively on the issue.
That’s according to a Fox News poll released Thursday.
The 59 percent of voters who think the economy is hurting includes 22 percent who say the country is still in recession and 37 percent who say it’s in an economic downturn, but not a recession. ;
The silver lining is that’s a significant improvement over the 67 percent who felt the economy was in bad shape a year ago. ; And it’s light years away from three years ago when 83 percent felt that way (41 percent recession and 42 percent downturn, 2012).
A record high (though still lackluster) 38 percent think the economy is doing okay, up from 30 percent a year ago. ;
As expected, partisanship plays a role in how people view the economy. ; Nearly twice as many Democrats (51 percent) as Republicans (26 percent) rate the economy as doing okay. ; A 46-percent plurality of Republicans says we’re in a downturn (but not a recession).
In April 2008, almost all voters (92 percent) said the economy was in bad shape: 54 percent said the economy was in recession, 38 percent said downturn. ; Just six percent said the economy was doing okay.
These more positive views haven’t translated into a ratings bump for the president, as approval of his handling of the economy has merely held steady since January. ; Currently 46 percent of voters approve, while 51 percent disapprove. ; Last month it was 46-49 percent.
The president’s ratings might be higher if voters felt they were better off — but most don’t feel that way. The poll asks voters if Obama’s economic policies have benefitted everyone or just certain people. ; Nearly a quarter feels everyone has done better (23 percent). ;
Of the 61 percent who think only some people have benefitted, hardly any say they are part of that group (six percent “people like me”). ; Thirty percent say “people with more money” were the beneficiaries and 25 percent say “people with less money.”
About one in 10 says Obama’s economic policies have benefitted no one (eight percent).
Despite overall improved sentiment on the economy, it remains a top concern to voters. ; Nearly 8 in 10 say they are “extremely” (22 percent) or “very” (56 percent) concerned about it. ; That puts the economy just below the number one worry, which is the price of health care: ; 31 percent are “extremely” concerned about that and another 50 percent “very” concerned. ;
The economy is of greater concern than Iran getting nukes (74 percent concerned), terrorist attacks (69 percent), gun laws (68 percent), race relations (66 percent), immigration (61 percent) and climate change (51 percent). ;
While President Obama’s job rating on the economy is more negative than positive, it’s still his best issue. ; He gets lower marks for his handling of health care (43 approve vs. 54 disapprove), immigration (40 approve vs. 53 disapprove) and foreign policy (38 approve vs. 53 disapprove).
Obama’s worst ratings are reserved for his handling of ISIS. ; Only 35 percent of voters approve, while 56 percent disapprove. ;
Overall, 44 percent approve of his performance, while 50 percent disapprove. ; Last month it was 45-48, and a year ago it was 41-54 (June 2014). ;
The Fox News poll is based on landline and cell phone interviews with 1,005 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from June 21-23, 2015. The full poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.