Washington (CNN) - Most Americans believe that the country is still in a recession, but one in five now say that the recession is over - the highest number since October, 2008, and double the number who felt that way last May, according to a new national poll.
A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation national survey released Wednesday indicates that 78 percent of the public says the economy is still in a recession, with 21 percent saying the recession is over, more than double the number of Americans who believed the recession was over in May of last year.
"More signs of growing optimism: the number who say that the country is in a serious recession has dropped from 42 percent last fall to 33 percent now," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland
But an uptick in economic optimism has not led to an increase in the number of Americans who think things are going well in the country. In fact, that number has dropped since March and the situation in the Gulf of Mexico is the likely reason for that.
"There are some glimmers of optimism on the economic front, but the public's overall mood has taken a dip that is probably due to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico," adds Holland.
Evidence of that is found in the attitudes of women on the economy and the oil spill. The drop in overall satisfaction comes entirely among women - the number of men who say things are going badly is unchanged since March, but the number of women who feel that way is up 11 points.
The number of women who think the recession is over has grown eight points since December; among men, there was virtually no change.
But women are also more likely than men to believe that the oil spill will affect their families directly, and women are much more likely to say that the situation in the Gulf is getting worse.
"So it appears that women are reacting to their pessimism about the oil spill rather than their perception of any economic improvement," says Holland.
The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted Wednesday June 16, with 534 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.
–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report