(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – People in the United States remain skeptical about a financial recovery, according to a poll by Angus Reid Public Opinion. 85 per cent of respondents rate the economic conditions in the U.S. today as poor or very poor.

Since 2007, defaults on so-called subprime mortgages—credit given to high-risk borrowers—in the U.S. caused volatility in domestic and global financial markets and ultimately pushed the U.S. economy into a recession. A recession is defined as two consecutive quarters of negative growth. The crisis has affected the global financial and credit systems, and triggered layoffs in companies around the world.

In 2008, the federal government—then under the leadership of U.S. president George W. Bush—took control of mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Other financial institutions—including Bear Stearns, Merril Lynch, Lehman Brothers, American International Group (AIG), IndyMac Bancorp and Washington Mutual—have been sold, placed under bankruptcy protection, or received emergency loans from the Federal Reserve.

The U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 2.2 per cent from July to September 2009—the first quarterly gain after four consecutive declines. The country’s unemployment rate stands at 10 per cent.

On Jan. 27, during his State of the Union address, U.S. president Barack Obama discussed the effect of the economic crisis, saying, "One year later, the worst of the storm has passed. But the devastation remains. One-in-ten Americans still cannot find work. Many businesses have shuttered. Home values have declined. Small towns and rural communities have been hit especially hard. And for those who’d already known poverty, life has become that much harder. This recession has also compounded the burdens that America’s families have been dealing with for decades."

Polling Data

How would you rate the economic conditions in the United States today?


Jan. 2010

Aug. 2009

May 2009

Very Good / Good




Poor / Very Poor




Not sure




Source: Angus Reid Public Opinion
Methodology: Online interviews with 1,003 American adults, conducted on Jan. 21 and Jan. 22, 2010. Margin of error is 3.1 per cent.

Complete Poll (PDF)