WASHINGTON — For the third year in a row, the nation’s economic recovery has hit a springtime soft spot. Reflecting that weakness, only one in four Americans expects his or her own financial situation to improve over the next year, a new Associated Press-GfK poll shows.
The sour mood is undermining support for President Barack Obama’s economic stewardship and for government in general.
The poll shows that only 46 percent of Americans approve of Obama’s handling of the economy while 52 percent disapprove. That’s a negative turn from an even split last September — ahead of Obama’s November re-election victory — when 49 percent approved and 48 percent disapproved.
Only 7 percent of Americans said they trust the federal government to do what is right “just about always,” the AP-GfK poll found. Fourteen percent trust it “most” of the time and two-thirds trust the federal government just “some of the time”; 11 percent say they never do.
The downbeat public attitudes registered in the survey coincide with several dour economic reports showing recent slowdowns in gains in hiring, consumer retail spending, manufacturing activity and economic growth. Automatic government spending cuts, which are starting to kick in, might be contributing to the sluggishness and increased wariness on the part of both shoppers and employers.