Majority Believe U.S. Economy Is in Recession or Will Be Soon: Poll

A majority of Americans believe the U.S. is in a recession or will be over the next year, according to a new poll published on Wednesday that also showed Democrats and Republicans in a dead heat heading into November.

The Harvard-CAPS Harris poll for July found that 84 percent of registered voters believed the U.S. economy was now in a recession or that it would soon enter a recession.

Those figures come as U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) fell in the first two quarters of 2022. Many economists view two successive quarters of negative GDP growth as indicating a recession.

The new Harris poll found that 42 percent of respondents believed the U.S. was in recession and another 42 percent believed it would go into recession in the next year. Just 16 percent of respondents said they believed the U.S. would avoid a recession.

In a June Harris poll, 49 percent said they believed the U.S. was in recession, 39 percent said it soon would be, and 12 percent said a recession would be avoided.

Though July's poll shows Americans seem slightly more optimistic about the economy, the vast majority still believe a recession is here or coming within the next year.

The July Harris survey was conducted from June 27 to 28 among 1,885 registered voters.

Despite the pessimism expressed in the poll, there is significant debate about whether the U.S. economy is in recession. GDP fell at an annualized rate of 1.6 percent in the first quarter and 0.9 percent in the second quarter, reported CNBC, but the jobs market has remained strong.

The economy has added around 460,000 jobs per month during the first two quarters of 2022.

Research from the Dallas Federal Reserve published on Tuesday found "that most indicators — particularly those measuring labor markets — provide strong evidence that the U.S. economy did not fall into a recession in the first quarter."

St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard also said on Wednesday that he did not believe the nation was in recession, despite two quarters in a row of negative growth.

"With all the job growth in the first half of the year, it's hard to say there's a recession. With a flat unemployment rate at 3.6 percent, it's hard to say there's a recession," Bullard told CNBC's Squawk Box.

Nonetheless, voters' perceptions of the economy are likely to have a major impact on crucial midterm elections where Democrats are widely believed to be facing a tough fight to retain control of Congress.

The Harris poll found that the midterms are currently a dead heat, with 50 percent of respondents backing Democrats and 50 percent supporting Republicans on the generic congressional ballot.

A stock photo of a woman shopping looking confused. A new poll shows a majority of registered voters believe the U.S. is either in a recession or heading for one. iStock / Getty Images