Poll: Two-thirds of voters say the economy is on the wrong track

Voter pessimism about the economy has spiked in May, with a majority saying they expect to be in a recession that lasts at least until the end of the year.

The latest Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll found that 65 percent of voters surveyed believe the economy is on the wrong track, compared to 27 percent who said it is on the right track.

That’s a major spike from the same poll only one month ago, when 58 percent said wrong track and 32 percent said right track. In January, before the coronavirus spread through the U.S., resulting in an economic shutdown, the poll found 51 percent of those surveyed viewing the economy as being on the right track and only 36 percent saying it was on the wrong track.

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Eighty percent of Democratic respondents said the economy is on the wrong track, and 68 percent of independents surveyed said the same. Republican respondents are split, with 43 percent saying the country is on the wrong track and 44 percent saying it is on the right track.

A strong majority of polled voters, 69 percent, describe the economy as “weak,” including 58 percent of Republicans.

Fifty-five percent of respondents said they expect the country to slide into an economic recession six months from now.

“Americans have continued their reversal from optimism to widespread pessimism about the economy and the virus and the economy are the two major issues faced by the public,” said Harvard CAPS-Harris polling director Mark PennMark PennThe Hill's Campaign Report: Biden leads Trump by 6 points in new poll Biden leads Trump by 6 points as voters sour on pandemic response: poll Poll: Two-thirds of voters say the economy is on the wrong track MORE.

The U.S. lost 20.5 million jobs in April and the unemployment rate spiked by more than 10 points, from 4.4 percent in March to 14.7 percent in April, as businesses closed down and commerce ground to a halt due to the global pandemic.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpFederal plan to contain Washington protests employs 7,600 personnel: report GOP Rep calls on primary opponent to condemn campaign surrogate's racist video Tennessee court rules all registered voters can obtain mail-in ballots due to COVID-19 MORE has been eager to reopen the economy, but that decision is largely being driven by governors, who have in many cases taken a more cautious approach to ensure that the outbreak does not worsen.

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Still, 53 percent of respondents said they approve of Trump’s handling of the economy.

“This has uncertain political effects as incumbents want to ride a good economy but fixing the economy is a strength of President Trump,” said Penn.

The Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll survey was conducted online within the U.S. among a representative sample of 1,854 registered voters from May 13 to May 14 by The Harris Poll.

Penn is an opinion contributor for The Hill.

Results were weighted for age within gender, region, race/ethnicity, marital status, household size, income, employment, education, political party and political ideology where necessary to align them with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.