Below, some of the key points from the poll:
- Americans have little sympathy for U.S. automakers facing financial difficulties. Just 18 percent think the government should provide them with additional financial assistance, and 76 percent think the government should not.
Also, the public blames the automakers themselves for their current problems - by a big margin. Sixty-three percent say the problems facing the big three auto companies are mostly the result of management strategies and decisions (up from 56 percent last December), while only 24 percent say the problems are a result of economic conditions beyond the automakers' control.
- Most Americans still think the national economy is bad, but there is some positive news. While a majority remains concerned that someone in their household may lose a job, the percentage that is very concerned has dropped since the high reached in early February. Now, 32 percent are very concerned, down from 38 percent in late February and 44 percent (a record high in this poll) earlier that month.
- While 41 percent think the economy is getting worse, that number is down from 51 percent last month. The percentage that says the economy is getting better has more than doubled, from 8 percent in February to 19 percent now.
- The percentage of people that says the country is headed in the right direction has also been steadily rising this year – 35 percent now say that, up from a low of 7 percent last October and 23 percent last month.
- Nineteen percent think the president will be able to make real progress fixing the economy within one year. Thirty-one percent say it will take two years, twenty-one percent say it will take three to four years, 10 percent say more than four years and sixteen percent say he never will.
- Sixty percent will remain patient for one or two years to decide if the administration's economic policies are a success. But should it take longer than that for the economy to recover, just 19 percent say they will be patient. Seventeen percent (mostly Republicans) say they have lost patience already.
Click here to read the full poll (PDF)
See Also: Poll: Frustration Growing Over Bailouts
This poll was conducted among a random sample of 1,142 adults nationwide, interviewed by telephone March 12-16, 2009. Phone numbers were dialed from RDD samples of both standard land-lines and cell phones. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus three percentage points. The error for subgroups is higher.
This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.