The USA Today/Gallup poll says 35 percent of respondents assess the U.S. economy as no better than a year ago and 42 percent say it is worse.
Sixty-one percent said they expect the economy over the next year to be similar to now, or worse, Gallup said Wednesday. The findings are based on telephone interviews with a random sample of 1,004 adults conducted Sept. 15-18. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus four percentage points.
Gallup said optimism over the future of the economy has weakened each year since 2009, when Americans said they were generally optimistic they would see improvement if not a full recovery by 2010.
Democrats were most likely, at 59 percent, to say they think the economy will improve by 2012, while only 28 percent of Republicans said they expected to see an improvement.
The poll found 80 percent of those asked think the economy is in a recession.
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