WASHINGTON (CNN) - There is evidence that the country's economic outlook is improving. But you have to look very closely.
CNN's Larry King asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday if the economy is turning around. She said yes. "I do believe it is," she said. "I do believe it is. And I think the American people have confidence that it will." Do they?
The number of Americans who say things are going well in the country has crept up a few points, according to a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll. In December, 20 percent of Americans said things in the country were going "well." Now, 23 percent do.
But let's take a magnifying glass and look more closely. The number who say things are going "pretty badly" has shot up, from 39 percent in December to 51 percent now. The number who say very badly has gone down, from 40 to 26 percent.
Aha! A trend! It's not a sudden burst of economic optimism. It's less pessimism.
The Obama administration will take what it can get. "Where we've moved, where we've acted, you can start to see some signs," said Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner on Sunday.
Does the U.S. economy stop at the water's edge? Geithner said it doesn't. "We need the countries around the world moving with us," he said.
The public agrees. Most Americans believe the United States cannot recover on its own. Almost 60 percent say the country will come out of a recession only if the global economy improves.
At the G20 summit in London, there was some finger-pointing at the United States. Jose Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission, said of the United States: "After all, it was there that the problem started."
Don't point fingers at us, Americans say. Only 34 percent say the country is primarily responsible for the world's economic problems. The rest say other countries are just as responsible for the downturn.
The American public's view? We're all in this together.