(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – Many adults in the United States remain concerned about the country’s financial standing, according to a poll by Angus Reid Public Opinion. 81 per cent of respondents rate the economic conditions in the U.S. as poor or very poor.

Since August 2009, the proportion of respondents who rate the U.S. economy as good or very good has increased by seven points.

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 9.7 per cent.

In his Mar. 27 radio address, U.S. president Barack Obama discussed his plan to reform the federal student loan programs, saying, "With this legislation, we’re putting that money to use achieving a goal I set for America: by the end of this decade, we will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world."

Polling Data

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


Mar. 2010

Feb. 2010

Jan. 2010

Aug. 2009

Very Good / Good





Poor / Very Poor





Not sure





Source: Angus Reid Public Opinion
Methodology: Online interviews with 1,008 American adults, conducted on Mar. 23 and Mar. 24, 2010. Margin of error is 3.1 per cent.

Complete Poll (PDF)