According to a new CNN/ORC International poll conducted as the nation's credit rating was downgraded by Standard & Poor's, a majority of Americans thinks the U.S. economy "is still in a downturn and conditions are going to worsen" for the first time in Barack Obama's presidency.
Fully 60 percent of Americans believe the economic downturn continues and will worsen. That is up sharply from mid-April, when just 36 percent thought the economy would worsen.
Just nine percent of Americans think the economy "is starting to recover from the problems it faced in the past year or so," down from 24 percent in April. Thirty-one percent think the recovery "has not started," but "conditions have stabilized and are not getting any worse."
The poll was conducted Friday to Sunday. S&P downgraded the U.S. debt from AAA to AA+ on Friday evening.
The poll comes after a week of mixed economic news. Last Tuesday, Obama signed a bill that raised the nation's debt limit and averted a government default. But the long and bitter process by which Congress passed the final bill turned off many Americans. In this poll, Americans are split on the final law: 48 percent approve of the bill when told it raises the debt ceiling and "makes major cuts in government spending over the next few years." But half of Americans still disapprove of the law.
On Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell more than 500 points, as Wall Street found the debt deal was unable to soothe its general economic anxieties.
On Friday morning, the Labor Department released the July unemployment report showing nominal job growth and upward revisions to May and June figures, which brought some relief to Wall Street. Just 38 percent of Americans said their confidence in the American economy was shaken by the fall of the stock market, while 60 percent said their confidence was unaffected. But that was before another significant sell-off early Monday.
The CNN/ORC International poll surveyed 1,008 Americans age 18 and over. The margin of error is +/- 3.1 percent.