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Poll: Most Americans are still pessimistic about the economy

By Sarah Dutton, Jennifer De Pinto, Anthony Salvanto and Fred Backus

While the nation’s unemployment rate is now at a five-year low, most Americans (61 percent) continue to say the economy is in bad shape. Thirty-seven percent now think the economy is good, a slight uptick from last month and at the same level it was in the summer.

The public’s economic outlook isn’t especially positive. Twenty-seven percent think the economy is getting better, while 30 percent say it is getting worse. Forty-two percent think it is staying the same.

Those with higher household incomes are more likely to be optimistic about the country’s economic picture. Thirty-nine percent of households making more than $100,000 think the economy is getting better; only 23 percent of households making less than $50,000 think it's getting better.

President Barack Obama continues to receive low marks for his handling of the economy: Thirty-seven percent approve, while 58 percent disapprove – virtually unchanged from last month.


This poll was conducted by telephone December 5-8, 2013 among 1,000 adults nationwide. Data collection was conducted on behalf of CBS News by Social Science Research Solutions of Media, Pa.  Phone numbers were dialed from samples of both standard land-line 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 may be higher.  Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish.  This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

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