Thursday, January 22, 2004

Poll finds one-third optimistic

By John Byczkowski
The Cincinnati Enquirer

People in Greater Cincinnati generally feel good about the regional and national economy, but they also believe President Bush could do more to improve the economy, according to a new SurveyUSA for WCPO-TV and the Enquirer.

Asked whether the president "is doing as much as he can to improve the economy," 60 percent of the respondents said he "could do more."

Greater Cincinnati residents have similar feelings about the national and regional economy. Asked whether they believe the economy will be better a year from now, 33 percent said the national economy would improve, and 26 percent said the local economy would improve.

The SurveyUSA results are similar to results of other surveys of consumer confidence around the country. The most recent ABC News/Money poll showed 34 percent of Americans believe the economy is getting better. A CBS News/New York Times poll Jan. 4 showed 57 percent of Americans disapprove of Bush's handling of the economy, up from 42 percent in April.

Gary Langer, director of polling for ABC News in New York, said Americans have become increasingly optimistic about the economy in the past year. "Though confidence is better, the president isn't getting an enormous amount of credit."

Recent surveys show Americans say they trust Democrats more than Bush to handle the economy. Many people are still nervous about jobs, he said, and "budget deficits are not popular. People don't like deficits. It is a significant weak point for Bush."

Surveys of consumer confidence by the Conference Board, a business research organization, ticked down in December, a month when the economy created just 1,000 new jobs nationwide. "Where the job market is, that's where confidence goes," said economist Ken Goldstein.

The SurveyUSA survey was conducted Jan. 15 by telephone with 500 respondents in Greater Cincinnati. Respondents answered pre-recorded questions. The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.


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