The 2008 financial crisis has left a lasting memory of personal impact for all Americans, but opinions differ widely on where America finds itself today
Many Americans have not yet forgotten how all-encompassing the 2008 financial crisis was for them personally. In the latest Economist/YouGov Poll, 45% say the financial crisis had a serious effect on them. And there is very little difference by income or politics when it comes to remembering the impact of the crisis.
Republicans are as likely as Democrats to report having felt a serious impact. Those with family incomes under $40,000 a year are actually slightly less likely than those with incomes over $100,000 to say they were seriously affected.
If any group was less affected than others, it may have been the youngest. Less than a third of those under 30 claim to have been seriously affected. Those between the ages of 45 and 64, presumably in their highest earning years in 2008, are the most likely age group to say they were impacted seriously.
Although it has been six years since the financial crisis, most Americans don’t believe the country has recovered. And again, this feeling is shared by both parties, all ages, and all income levels.
As many as the number who think the country has recovered say that the crisis will have an even longer term impact: they say the country will never recover.
Can the crisis happen again? One in five say something like it is very likely to happen (odds of 50% or more), and they think it possibly may occur within the next 12 months. A majority give another it at least a 10% chance of happening again. And here is where politics affects economic opinions: Republicans are more than twice as likely as Democrats to say another crisis is highly likely.
Partisans look at the state of the economy with different lenses. With a Democratic President, Democrats feel better about the economy than Republicans do. But Republicans are far more negative than Democrats are positive. In fact, many Democrats admit that their own discussions with their friends and family about the state of the economy are mostly negative. Only 12% of Democrats say that when they talk about the economy with their friends, the discussion is mostly positive.
Given the fear that remains from the financial crisis, coupled with the political components involved in economic evaluations, there may be little reason to expect any change in economic views anytime soon. There has been little change in perceptions for a long time. Although views about the economy are better today than they were several years ago, more Americans continue to believe things are getting worse than to say they are getting better.
And despite reports that the number of jobs is finally matching or exceeding the numbers of jobs that existed before the Great Recession, more than a third of the public refuses to believe that is the case. More than a third say there are fewer job now than there were before the recession. Nearly one in four Democrats agree.