WASHINGTON (CNN) - A new national poll indicates that Americans are not nearly as optimistic about the economy as the chairman of the Federal Reserve seems to be.
Eighty-six percent of those questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Thursday morning say they think the U.S. is still in a recession, with 13 percent saying the nation's economic downturn has ended. According to the poll, 42 percent say the country is in a serious recession, 35 percent call it a moderate recession, and one in ten characterize it as a mild recession.
Earlier this week, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the recession is very likely over, although he said the job market will continue to struggle for some time.
"Economists have typically called an end to recessions long before the public thinks hard times have passed," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "The recession of the early 1990s was officially over by 1991, but a majority of Americans didn't think the recession was over until late in 1993."
The poll also suggests that only a small minority, 9 percent, say their family's financial situation is better now than it was a year ago. Nearly four in 10 say they're worse off now that they were a year ago, and just over half said their family's financial situation was about the same.
"Rural America seems to feel the pinch more than the rest of the country," Holland says. "Nearly half of people who live in rural areas say they are worse off, compared to 37 percent of suburbanites and 29 percent of people who live in cities."
Looking to the future, nearly half of those polled say the stock market will be higher a year from now, with three in 10 saying the markets will be at about the same level and 18 percent feeling the markets will be lower. According to the survey, 44 percent say home values in their area will be about the same a year from now, with 35 percent feeling house prices will be higher and 22 percent suggesting values will be lower than they currently stand.
The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted September 11-13, with 1,010 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.