Most Americans say U.S. in recession despite data: poll

WASHINGTON Thu Apr 28, 2011 9:47am EDT

A student graduating from Harvard's Business School holds a U.S. flag with a dollar bill tied to it during the 357th Commencement Exercises at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts June 5, 2008. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

A student graduating from Harvard's Business School holds a U.S. flag with a dollar bill tied to it during the 357th Commencement Exercises at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts June 5, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Brian Snyder

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - More than half of Americans say the U.S. economy is in a recession or a depression despite official data that show a moderate recovery, according to a poll released on Thursday.

The April 20-23 Gallup survey of 1,013 U.S. adults found that only 27 percent said the economy is growing. Twenty-nine percent said the economy is in a depression and 26 percent said it is in a recession, with another 16 percent saying it is "slowing down," Gallup said.

The poll findings have a 4 percentage point margin of error, according to Gallup.

The health of the U.S. economy is expected to be a major issue as President Barack Obama, a Democrat, seeks re-election in 2012.

The government reported on Thursday that U.S. economic growth slowed more than expected to 1.8 percent in the first quarter of the year, as soaring food and gasoline prices drained consumer spending power.

A slowdown in first-quarter growth was acknowledged on Wednesday by the Federal Reserve, which described the U.S. economic recovery as proceeding at a "moderate pace." That was a step back from the "firmer footing" that Fed officials cited for the recovery in March.

The Gallup poll found that Democrats are the most likely to say the economy is growing. Forty-three percent of Democrats said the economy is in a recession or depression, 13 percent said it is slowing down and 42 percent said it is growing.

Sixty-eight percent of Republicans and supporters of the conservative Tea Party movement said the economy is in a recession or a depression. Fourteen percent of Republicans and 13 percent of Tea Party supporters said the economy is growing.

Fifty-seven percent of independent voters -- a crucial segment of the electorate for Obama's re-election bid -- said the economy is in a recession or depression and 24 percent said it is growing.

(Editing by Will Dunham)

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