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Most people in the United States as well as in France, Germany, Great Britain and Spain believe their economies are getting worse.

That’s according to a Financial Times/Harris Poll conducted online by Harris Interactive.

The poll found that within the past year:

•Almost three-quarters (72 percent) of British adults feel their household’s economic well-being has become worse, compared to just over half of Germans and Americans (56 percent each).

•At least seven in 10 adults in each country (from 84 percent in Italy and 83 percent in the U.S. to 70 percent each in Spain and Germany) say they have changed their lifestyles and curbed their spending as a result of inflation and tighter credit conditions.

•Most people are making fewer trips to restaurants, cinemas and pubs (between 81 percent and 67 percent); they are cutting back on expensive food and drink purchases (between 51 percent and 69 percent); and they are delaying the purchase of clothes and other consumer goods (between 59 percent and 68 percent). Substantial minorities – many millions of people – have delayed buying homes and cars.

•At least four in five Americans (90 percent), Britons (89 percent), Italians (88 percent), French adults (87 percent) and Spaniards (81 percent) say the economies in their respective countries have grown worse. Germans are a little less sour on their economy, as just over half (58 percent) say it is worse while one-quarter (26 percent) believe it has remained about the same.

It seems that most people do not believe that economies are hurting because of international trends, and they blame the government.

•Majorities in all countries who say their respective economies are worse indicated that their governments have a lot or complete responsibility for the recent economic downturn and its consequences.

•Among those who say the economy is worse, one-quarter of French (25 percent) and at least one-third in the each of other five countries (between 32 percent and 37 percent) all agree that their country’s government is doing a terrible job in handling the economic turndown.

•Forty-three percent of Americans who believe the economy is worse say the Federal Reserve has not responded appropriately.

Business Wire