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Poll: Three-quarters think U.S. in recession

  • Story Highlights
  • The economy is the top issue for Americans, CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll says
  • Nearly three-quarters of those polled think the U.S. is in a recession
  • Iraq ranks as the second most important issue, survey shows
  • Next Article in Politics »
By Paul Steinhauser
CNN Washington Bureau
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(CNN) -- Nearly three-quarters of all Americans think the economy is in a recession, according to a national poll released Monday.

Seventy-four percent of those questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey say the economy has entered a recession.

That figure is up from 66 percent who felt that way in a similar survey last month. The number stood at 61 percent in January and 46 percent in October.

It's no surprise then that the economy remains the key issue in the public's mind.

By a 2-1 margin, it tops the Iraq war as the No. 1 issue for Americans in their choice for president. Complete results (PDF)

"Forty-two percent of those polled say the economy is the biggest issue on their minds, nearly double the amount who felt that way in October, the last time Iraq topped the list as the most important issue," said Keating Holland, CNN's polling director. Video Watch more on the sinking dollar and rising oil prices »

Democrats and Republicans seem to differ about the state of the economy. Nine in 10 Democrats questioned said the economy is in a recession, while 54 percent of Republicans agreed with that assessment.

Iraq ranks as the second most important issue, at 21 percent, followed by health care at 18 percent, terrorism at 10 percent and immigration at 7 percent.

Three in 10 of those questioned say the U.S. is in a serious recession, with an equal amount describing the recession as moderate. Sixteen percent call it a "mild recession." Video Watch experts on the economy »

"The 29 percent who say we're in a serious recession is larger than the number of Americans who felt that way during the last recession at the start of the current Bush administration, but it's nowhere near the 46 percent who felt that way about the recession of the early 1990s, when George W. Bush's father was in the White House," Holland said.

So when will these economic blues likely go away?

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A majority of those polled, 53 percent, say the recession will last more than a year, 18 percent say it will continue for another six months to a year, and 2 percent say the economic downturn will be over in less than six months. Video Watch Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson on the economy »

The CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll was conducted by telephone from Friday to Sunday, with 1, 019 Americans questioned. The survey has a sampling error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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