Voters Think Economy 'In Trouble'

Thursday, May 15, 2008 5:33 PM

The weak economy and rising prices are high among voters’ concerns going into November’s presidential election, according to a new national poll.

Nearly seven in 10 Americans are concerned about maintaining their standard of living, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Many consumers find themselves struggling with rising costs of fuel, food and healthcare, so it’s not surprising that a separate poll released by ABC showed economic anxiety in the country is at its highest level in 27 years.

More than eight in 10 poll respondents said the U.S. has veered seriously off-track.

Overall, more than two-thirds of those surveyed said they were concerned about their ability to keep up their lifestyles. That’s a 17 percentage point increase since December, and it’s an increase that cuts across party lines and income levels.

A fifth of those surveyed cited the higher gas prices as the single most important economic issue. A third pointed to rising prices in general. Overall, two-thirds called rising gasoline prices a financial hardship.

In the poll, most voters blame big oil for high pump prices. Three in 10 said the oil companies or greed are the main cause of the rising costs.

Twenty percent pointed to market forces, while one in 10 blamed President Bush and slightly fewer — 9 percent —cited the OPEC oil cartel and other foreign producers as the problem.

"There’s no oil shortage in this country. There’s no gasoline shortage, and there hasn’t been for years,