WASHINGTON (AP) — When it comes to the economy, half of Americans in a new poll say it won't matter much whether Barack Obama or Mitt Romney wins — even though the presidential candidates have staked their chances on which one would be better at fixing the economic mess.
People are especially pessimistic about the future president's influence over jobs, according to the Associated Press-GfK poll. Asked how much impact the November winner will have on unemployment, 6 in 10 gave answers ranging from slim to none.
Yet the candidates, the polls and the pundits agree — the economy is the issue of 2012. Can either man convince voters that he would set things right?
James Gray of Snow Hill, N.C., is skeptical.
"It doesn't look to me like the economy or nothing gets better no matter who you've got up there," Gray said. "I don't know why it is."
A retired policeman, Gray plans to vote for Romney and thinks the Republican might win. But Gray doesn't have much hope that would improve the economy or help people like him, living on a fixed income. "Every time you go to the grocery store the prices have gone up," he said.
Years of disappointing economic news following the 2007-2009 recession have deflated American optimism. And worries about financial troubles in Europe and congressional gridlock at home hang over the future. Two-thirds of people still describe the economy as poor. And two-thirds expect unemployment to stay where it is or climb even higher over the next year.
"Right now it's so bad," said Maria Fisher of Timber Pines, Fla. "I wish everything was better."
Fisher, a preschool teacher at the YMCA, said she favors Romney because he's a Republican and a successful businessman. She's ready "to give him the chance to fix all these problems," she said, but doubts there's much the president can do.
Lots of Obama supporters feel the same way.
"The office of the president as a single person doesn't have as much influence as we generally attribute to them," said Jeff Guertin, a mechanical engineer in Bedford, N.H., who wants to keep Obama in office.
Guertin said a president is limited by Congress' willingness to go along with his ideas, as well as all sorts of other factors, including world events, that affect whether the U.S. economy grows or shrinks.
Asked how much impact the person living in the White House in 2013 will have on the overall economy, 48 percent in the survey say a "great deal" or "a lot." Fifty percent give answers ranging from "just some" to no impact.
Republicans are more likely than Democrats to predict that the winner's imprint will be felt: 58 percent say the election's outcome will affect the economy. Yet fewer than half of Republicans foresee much impact on joblessness.
On the nation's huge budget deficits, a majority of people surveyed — 55 percent — say the presidential winner will have from just some to no impact.
Those with little confidence that the winner can fix things are also more pessimistic overall — just 32 percent of them think the economy will improve in the coming year. In contrast, among those who expect a substantial impact from the election's outcome, almost half think the economy will get better.
Everett Hickman, an Obama supporter, said he thinks both campaigns overplay how much a president can do.
"The federal government has some influence over the economy," said Hickman, a retired radio news reporter living in Charlotte, N.C. "It doesn't have the kind of push-pull, click-clack control that some people seem to think, or pretend to think."
The Associated Press-GfK Poll was conducted June 14-18 by GfK Roper Public Affairs and Corporate Communications. It involved landline and cellphone interviews with 1,007 adults nationwide. Results for the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4.0 percentage points.
Associated Press Deputy Director of Polling Jennifer Agiesta and News Survey Specialist Dennis Junius contributed to this report.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
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2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
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3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
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4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
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5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
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7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
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9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
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10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
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11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
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12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
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13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
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14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
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15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
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16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
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17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
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18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
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19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
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20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
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21. Bae #retailtherapy
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22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
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23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
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24. Diggy Simmons
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25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
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26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
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27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
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28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
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29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
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30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
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31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
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