A Bloomberg survey shows Americans Grow More Pessimistic on Economy, Nation’s Direction.

Americans have grown gloomier about both the economy and the nation’s direction over the past three months even as the U.S. shows signs of moving from recession to recovery.

Almost half the people now feel less financially secure than when President Barack Obama took office in January, a Bloomberg National Poll shows.

Those concerns have put consumers in a miserly mood as they head to the mall for holiday shopping, with half the country planning to spend less on gifts than last year and few buyers willing to run up credit-card debt for Christmas.

The mood among members of Obama’s own Democratic Party has shifted most dramatically: While Democrats remain the most positive, the proportion saying the country is on the right track dropped to 58 percent from 71 percent in September. Among independents, 26 percent say the country is on the right track, down from 29 percent in September.

“The recession may be over, but the administration seems to be losing the battle when it comes to winning the hearts and minds of Americans,” says Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist for Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd. in New York. “This is important because the spending of consumers is the main factor that will turn the economic recovery into a self- sustaining one.”

Poll Highlights

  • Only 31 percent expect the economy to improve in six months
  • 81 percent say persistently high unemployment is a major threat
  • 60 percent say stimulus plans have no effect or actually hurt the economy
  • Only 26 percent feel more secure now than when Obama took office
  • Only 33 percent view Bernanke as favorable
  • Only 8 percent plan on spending more for the holidays, while 47 percent plan on spending less.

Click here to see the Bloomberg National Poll questions, answers, and methodology.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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