(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – A large proportion of Americans are dissatisfied with their country’s financial situation, according to a poll by Angus Reid Public Opinion. 86 per cent of respondents rate the economic conditions in the United States 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 9.5 per cent.

On Jul. 25, U.S. treasury secretary Timothy Geithner discussed the current state of affairs, saying, "You are seeing a recovery. You’re seeing private investment expand again, job growth starting to come back. (…) I talked to businesses across the country, and I would say that is the general view: an economy that’s gradually getting better."

Polling Data

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


Jul. 2010

Jun. 2010

May 2010

Apr. 2010

Very Good / Good





Poor / Very Poor





Not sure





Source: Angus Reid Public Opinion
Methodology: Online interviews with 1,013 American adults, conducted on Jul. 22 and Jul. 23, 2010. Margin of error is 3.1 per cent.

Complete Poll (PDF)