Polls show that most Americans wrongly believe the US is in a recession

People walk past a homeless man outside the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on Wall Street on January 18, 2023 in New York City.

Angela Weiss | AFP | Getty Images

More than half of Americans think the United States is in an economic recession, even though gross domestic product has increased in recent years.

According to a new one Guardian/Harris poll56% of respondents said they believe the US is in a recession and 58% say President Joe Biden is responsible for what they see as an economic downturn.

A recession is a prolonged period of economic downturn, usually referred to when GDP has fallen for two or more consecutive fiscal quarters.

Under these conditions, the US is definitively not in a recession.

GDP grew by 1.6% in the first quarter of 2024. Granted, that's a slower pace than the 3.3% growth in the fourth quarter of 2023, but it's not a recession. U.S. GDP growth exceeds that of other developed countries.

“America has the best economy in the world,” Biden said told NBC's “TODAY” in April.

The Guardian/Harris poll is yet another example of the persistent disconnect between economic data and economic sentiments that has plagued the Biden administration in recent months.

Read more CNBC political coverage

Despite some positive signs that the economy is recovering from the pandemic chaos that disrupted supply chains and sent inflation skyrocketing, consumer attitudes have lagged, often due to the high cost of daily living caused by persistently high inflation.

The Guardian/Harris poll comes less than six months away from the November election, which will pit Biden against former President Donald Trump. The Biden campaign is fighting to convince voters of the president's economic record and shift the mood to recognize the economic gains the country has made since the pandemic.

“We know our work is not done yet,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said at a January briefing, nodding to the gap between how the U.S. economy is doing, as measured by the top numbers, and what the Americans think about that.

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