A majority of Americans wrongly believe their country is in a recession

It is not a real recession but rather a general depression about the economy, estimates the chronicler of New York Times Paul Krugman. A “vibecession”, according to the neologism coined by analyst Kyla Scanlon.

Nearly 56% of Americans believe the United States is in an economic recession, according to a recent poll by the Harris Institute for The Guardian, “and the majority blame it on the Biden administration,” observes the British newspaper. So, “58% of those questioned say that the economy is deteriorating due to the mismanagement of the current presidency.” However, the country has enjoyed robust growth since the pandemic.

Worse and worse

“Thus 49% of them believe that unemployment is at its highest level in the last fifty years, while the unemployment rate is below 4%, almost its lowest level in fifty years,” even indicates the survey.

And this gloom is not getting better. “Consumer confidence reached its lowest level in six months in May,” while inflation has slowed considerably since its peak in 2022 – although it remains sustained, at over 3%.

Pessimism is particularly dominant among Republican voters, according to the poll, while Democratic voters are more divided.

A positive “experience”?

However, underlines Paul Krugman, “all polls show that most voters have a positive view of their own financial situation” and even the state of the economy in their region. Enough to support the idea of ​​a gap between reality and “bad vibes” at national scale.

A thesis that the economist, close to the democrats, has defended for a long time, which exposes him to criticism: he is accused of“ignore people’s experiences” on the pretext that the statistics would be good. Wrongly, he replies: it is the people themselves who, in polls, declare that their own “lived” is positive.

It remains that it is “surprisingly difficult” to identify the causes of negative perceptions of the economy as a whole, says Paul Krugman. But these represent “obviously a major problem for the Joe Biden campaign”, less than six months before the presidential election.

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