Washington, Aug.2 : American angst is now centered on gas prices, personal finances, unemployment, inflation, stagnant real estate, rather than the ongoing war in Iraq or the upcoming presidential conventions according to research released here on Friday.
The Washington Times quotes the Pew Research Centre survey as saying that found just 10 percent of Americans saying that the economy is in "good shape, while 54 percent said it is already in recession. Eighteen percent said the economy is in a depressed state.
Assorted economic problems were cited by 61 percent as the most important problem facing the nation, far surpassing the war in Iraq (cited by 17 percent), educational challenges (four percent) and terrorism, health care, flagging national morals, the state of our government and defense (each issue cited by three percent).
Seventy-one percent of adults under 30 said they expected things to get better. They were followed by blacks (62 percent), those with incomes under 50,000 dollars a year (58 percent), Republicans (56 percent) and those 30-49 years of age (55 percent).
Eight out of 10 say economic uncertainty is "no hiccup," but represents a serious, deep-seated problem. Almost three-fourths said the proverbial "good job" was nowhere to be found, while more than two-thirds said they couldn't afford gasoline any more.
Two-thirds blamed international competition for oil for our sorry economic state, followed by bad loans from banks (59 percent) and the unwise habits of spendthrift citizens (54 percent). Fewer than half blamed the federal budget deficit.
Almost 72 percent said that inflation could be remedied, while 68 percent said "the federal government can still fix a global economy."
The survey of 1,503 adults was conducted July 23-27 and has an error margin of three percentage points.
Though most of the news is troubling, Americans were keenly interested in the story nonetheless.
A separate Project for Excellence in Journalism survey found that press coverage of the economy was closely followed by 46 percent of the respondents, compared to 30 percent who concentrated on election news. Our interest in economic stories also trumped our interest in the war in Iraq, the upcoming hurricane season and the Beijing Olympics.
But there's a disconnect between press and people - just 6 percent of the total national news was devoted to economic news, while 38 percent covered the election.
The survey of 1,002 adults was conducted July 21-27 and has an error margin of three percentage points.