If you ask the American people, they don’t have much good to say about the U.S. economy. According to a new poll by Quinnipiac University, most say they are worse off financially than they were four years ago, and they don’t expect it to get better anytime soon:

The surge of economic optimism may have stalled as American voters say 41 – 35 percent they are worse off financially than four years ago, and 51 percent don’t expect their personal financial situation to change in the next 12 months, while 32 percent expect it to get better and 13 percent expect it to get worse, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

Voters say 68 – 27 percent the economy is in a recession, but say 53 – 43 percent it has begun to recover, the independent Quinnipiac University poll finds.

Though the economy has seen some modest improvement — 120,000 new jobs were added in March — those numbers were well below expectations, and 12.7 million Americans (8.2 percent of the work force) remain unemployed. Heritage’s Rea Hederman, Jr., writes that these latest jobs jumbers are “clearly disappointing and indicate that the labor market recovery is still struggling even years after the recession’s end.” And though the unemployment rate dropped from by one-tenth of a percent, Hederman explains that it’s due to workers leaving the labor force instead of finding new jobs. (Post continued below chart.)

The American people are feeling the weight of the lagging economy, and their vision for the future is growing cloudier, as Quinnipiac reports:

A small majority of American voters think the economy is improving, but the groundswell of optimism we saw in recent months seems to have hit a wall,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.  “Last October, voters said 77 – 20 percent the country was in recession.  By February public opinion was rosier with voters saying 66 – 30 percent the country was in recession, a solid positive move.

But now, voters say 68 – 27 percent, we are in a recession.  The momentum has slowed if not reversed.  Similarly, in September voters said 68 – 28 percent the economy was NOT beginning to recover which turned to 54 – 43 percent in February that it WAS beginning to recover.  But now that number has stalled with voters saying 53 – 43 the economy has begun to recover.”