Most Americans remain divided over whether the economy is improving, but united in their disapproval of Congress, according to a poll conducted by NYU students in New York City this week.
The poll conducted in Grand Central Station also showed that 100 percent of the participants said that neither they nor any of their close family members had lost their job in the last year.
Despite the higher job retention, only 35 percent of people surveyed said that they thought the economy was improving.
“I think it’s getting better for certain groups of people, and worse for other groups of people,” said Elizabeth Tran, who is 30 years old, a Democrat and works as a consultant for technology companies. According to Tran, economic inequality is one of the biggest challenges facing the U.S. today.
Half of the poll participants said that the economy was the biggest challenge that the U.S. is facing because of problems such as income equality, national debt and poverty.
“As far as I know, people aren’t getting paid the right amount, people aren’t getting health benefits. You know, we’re putting more money into a war instead of feeding people. That’s a problem,” said Laura Coriakula, a 20-year-old dancer in New York City but originally from Fiji.
The defense budget was also a problem for some poll participants and more than half said that they did not support the use of U.S. ground forces in Iran and Syria to fight ISIS.
“There’s trillions of dollars being spent on war and not on people who really need the money to get off the street,” said Henry Lee, a 21-year-old New Yorker who just graduated with his associate’s degree.
Coriakula was also unhappy with the defense budget because of a lack of transparency between the government and taxpayers.
“I get skeptical,” said Coriakula about the U.S. military effort against ISIS. “They say they’re helping, but there’s just so much that goes on that is not heard.”
Despite the lack of confidence in the economy and government spending, 40 percent of participants said that the country is headed in the right direction.
“I think people are becoming more aware,” said James Odell, a 20-year-old college student who is unaffiliated with any political party. “Since the 2008 recession people are starting to think more critically.”
People are starting to think more critically of Congress as well. Poll results showed that 9 in 10 Americans disapprove of the job that Congress has been doing.
Melanie Johnson, 39, a Republican from Kentucky said that she disapproved of Congress because of constantly “stonewalling each other and not working together.”
The poll also showed that only 10 percent of people polled believed that the country would be better off if Romney had been elected.
“To be honest, I guess it would probably still be the same,” Johnson said. She didn’t approve of Obama either, saying that she didn’t think he was honest.
Only 35 percent of poll participants approved of Obama’s job so far, although many placed the blame not on Obama himself but on delays in Congress.
“Even if a capable leader comes, he or she will not be able to do something for the country because there are always some other people to suppress their activities,” said Radhika Misra, a 43-year-old teacher and babysitter from Queens who is a Democrat. Misra approved of Obama, but said she knew that it is not always possible for a president to follow through with all of his initial promises.
Despite the stronger opinions on the worsening economy and Congress’s failures, poll participants were unsure about the 2016 election, with half of the participants saying that they did not know who should be nominated as the Republican candidate, and 60 percent of poll participants saying they did not know whether the recent Iran nuclear deal would be beneficial or harmful.
NYU students conducted the poll over two days in Grand Central Station. Since only 20 people were interviewed it is not a scientifically backed survey. Nine of the poll participants were men and 11 were women. The age of participants ranged from 17 years old to 75 years old, but 70 percent of participants were in between the ages of 20 and 40.