A new Zogby poll finds one-third of U.S. adults describe being seriously impacted by the current recession, including 14% who say their households have been "devastated." Also, only 41% of all adults expect their household financial situations to return to pre-recession conditions.

Adults in lower income households reported higher levels of recession impact and less optimism about recovery. Another significant variable in how people responded to both questions was political affiliation.

These findings come from a Zogby Interactive survey of 41,175 adults conducted from July 2-27, 2009. The margin of error is +/- 0.5%.

We asked "how big an impact have the recent changes in the U.S. economy had on your household," and gave a five-point scale, with "five" being "devastating" and "one" being "no impact." Here are the results:

Recession Impact %

5 - Devastating








1 - No impact


Major impact (4+5)


Little or no impact (1+2)


Adults with lower household incomes reported being harder hit by the recession, as one half of those with household incomes below $25,000 chose the two highest levels of financial devastation; and that percentage gradually declines as incomes rise. However, 21% of adults with family incomes above $250,000 reported a "four" or "five" on our scale.

As for party affiliation, Republicans were most likely to indicate the highest levels of impact. Here are the percentages from both major parties and Independents who chose either a "four" or "five" on our devastation scale:

Republicans 40%,

Independents 36%

Democrats 28%.

We also asked if respondents believed their household financial circumstances "will ever go back to where they were before the recent changes in the U.S. economy." Here are the results:

Expect personal finances to return to pre-recession status %





Not Sure


The percentages of those answering yes increases with household income. Age is also a significant variable, as optimism declines steadily from the youngest to oldest age groups. For example, 55% of First GlobalsTM (ages 18-29) believe they will fully recover, compared to just 27% of Privates (age 65 and older).

As in the other question, party affiliation is a significant factor. Here are the percentages by party that believed their financial circumstances would go back to pre-recession status.

Democrats 51%

Republicans 33%

Independents 40%.

Pollster John Zogby: "When more than a third of adults say the recession has devastated or nearly devastated them financially, you know that this has indeed been the nation's most serious period of hardship since the Great Depression. There is also not much optimism that people will ever recoup their losses. It's also striking how much party affiliation even impacts perceptions about personal finances, showing that we remain a highly polarized nation."

For a complete methodological statement on this survey, please visit:

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