Poll: Gloomy voters say USA on wrong track, kids will be poorer

December 18, 2012

A mood of economic gloom hangs over the nation as President Obama and Republican leaders scramble to strike a deficit deal that avoids automatic tax hikes and spending cuts, according to a new poll for The Hill. 

The poll, conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, found nearly 6-in-10 people (59 percent) feel the country is on the wrong track. It also showed people are deeply pessimistic about their chances for future prosperity, with 54 percent saying they believe their children will be worse off as adults than their parents.

The poll results cast a shadow over talks in Washington aimed at averting the "fiscal cliff" of $500 billion in tax hikes and $109 billion in automatic spending cuts set to take effect Jan. 1.

Barely a month after Obama won a second term, and even as the nation continues to make modest job gains, fewer than 1-in-3 (31 percent) say the country is on the right track.

Only 34 percent of people feel they will be better off at the end of Obama's second term than they are right now. And just 16 percent believe a better economic future awaits their children when they grow up.

The dour sentiment is particularly striking among Republicans, who were crestfallen over GOP nominee Mitt Romney's defeat on Nov. 6.

Among voters who identified themselves as Republicans, 87 percent said the country is on the wrong track and a mere 8 percent said it is on the right track.

Seven-in-10 Republicans believe they will be worse off at the end of Obama's presidency, and 80 percent said their children's future is bleaker than their own.

Only 4 percent of Republicans think their children will be better off.

By contrast, Democrats are in a somewhat sunnier - though not overwhelmingly upbeat - post-election mood. Fifty-four percent of Democrats said they think the country is on the right track compared to 31 percent who said it is on the wrong track.

Six-in-10 Democrats, meanwhile, believe they'll be better off in four years.

But even Democrats are worried about the country's long-term future. Only 30 percent said their children face a brighter future and 30 percent said they will be worse off.

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