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Hopes slip on leaders fixing economy

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Poll: Hopes slip on leaders fixing economy

Enlarge image Enlarge By Richard Drew, AP

Trader Steven Marcus works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Monday. Wall Street made gains Monday, but Americans have continued concerns over the economy's prospects.

USA TODAY/GALLUP POLL

USA TODAY/GALLUP POLL

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By 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% call the economy "poor," and 84% predict it's getting worse.

The results were released as all three men delivered addresses Monday aimed at reassuring an anxious public and promising relief. Bush spoke at the White House after meeting with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. McCain addressed a rowdy campaign rally in Virginia Beach, and Obama was to unveil economic proposals at a speech in Toledo, Ohio.

Three weeks before Election Day, Obama leads McCain by 51%-44% 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 his lead, 50% of Americans say they don't have confidence in Obama and his advisers to fix the economy; 44% do. That lukewarm endorsement is better than the 31%-63% rating for McCain. Bush scores lowest of all: 16% express confidence in him and his team, 80% no confidence.

Even so, eight in 10 Americans say 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% say 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% say they are satisfied.

McCain was defiant toward the polls as he addressed supporters in Virginia, a traditionally Republican state that is now a battleground.

"Let me give you the state of the race today: We have 22 days to go. We're 6 points down. The national media has written us off. Sen. Obama is measuring the drapes," he said. "But they forgot to let you decide. My friends, we've got them just where we want them," describing himself as "a fighter."

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

Full story, source: USA Today

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Governments don't fix economies. People do!

The best that government can do is get out of the way of the people and businesses and let them do what they do. Doesn't help when taxes and regulations are being promised.

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