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A new poll from Zogby Interactive shows nearly half of Americans say their finances have deteriorated in the nearly one year President Obama has been in office, and fewer than one in five believe they are better off now than a year ago.

The poll, which questioned 2,841 adults Dec. 28-30, carries a margin of error of 1.9 percentage points.

It indicated 47 percent of Americans believe their own financial situations are worse now than a year ago, just as Barack Obama was preparing to be inaugurated as president.

Only 19 percent say their finances are better off now, and about 33 percent said their situations remain about the same.

The survey revealed “cautious optimism” for 2011, with 33 percent of the respondents expressing the belief their financial conditions will improve next yea. Twenty-nine percent expect a further downturn, and 25 percent expecting their financial situations to remain static.

“Younger Americans tend to be more hopeful that 2011 will be a year of financial good fortune – 39 percent of those age 18-29 feel this way, compared to 17 percent of those age 65 and older,” Zogby’s report said.

It also said men (37 percent) are more likely than women (29 percent) to think they will be better off financially in  2011.

Among those most likely to hold a negative view of their financial situations were women (50 percent), those without a college degree (52 percent), small city dwellers (53 percent) and those with less than $25,0000 in household income (60 percent).

Forty-six percent say their financial situation is worse now than it was 10 years ago, and 41 percent said their situation is better.

The poll also found Americans are split on the outlook for the U.S. economy as a whole over the next year, with 35 percent expecting it to be better than it is now and 38 percent expecting a decline by 2011.

Also, 53 percent of Americans believe the unemployment rate will be 10 percent or less this time next year, while 43 percent expect the unemployment rate will be 10 percent or higher at the start of 2011.

Further, 58 percent of Americans expect the average price of a gallon of regular gasoline to be between $2.50 and $3 next January, while only 9 percent expect it will climb above $3.50 a gallon.

Just over one-third of the respondents believe the Dow Jones Industrial Average will climb above 11,000 in the next year.


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