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Poll: Majority doubts Bush, Obama, McCain can lead way on economy

USA TODAY

SUSAN PAGE

USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – Neither President Bush nor the two men vying to succeed him, John McCain and Barack Obama, have won the confidence of a majority of Americans to be able to “fix” the nation’s economic crisis, according to a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll.

Two-thirds of those surveyed say their personal financial situation has been harmed, and even more expect to suffer long-term damage from the mortgage meltdown and the stock market’s precipitous fall.

They are braced for more: 73 percent call the economy “poor,” and 84 percent predict it’s getting worse.

Three weeks before Election Day, Obama leads McCain by 51 percent to 44 percent among registered voters, just outside the survey’s margin of error of +/-3 percentage points.

The poll of 1,269 adults was taken Friday through Sunday.

Despite the lead, 50 percent of Americans said they don’t have confidence in Obama and his advisers to fix the economy; 44 percent do. Thirty-one percent said they had confidence in McCain, while 63 percent did not. Bush scored lowest of all: 16 percent expressed confidence in him and his team, 80 percent had no confidence.

Even so, 8 in 10 Americans said the government could have a “great deal” or fair amount of influence in fixing the economy.

The mood of America could hardly be more glum. A record 91 percent said they are dissatisfied with the way things are going in the United States, the highest in the three decades Gallup has asked the question. Just 7 percent say they are satisfied.

Using Gallup’s traditional model of likely voters, Obama leads McCain 50 percent to 46 percent. Under an alternative model based solely on whether respondents said they plan to vote – including young people and others who in the past sometimes haven’t shown up at the polls – the lead stretches to 52 percent to 45 percent.

INSIDE

• The mortgage lending crisis has pushed the nation’s financial services sector into a meltdown that has spread throughout the economy. 3B

• Across the country, authorities are becoming concerned that the nation’s financial woes could turn increasingly violent, and they are urging people to get help. 3B

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