Gallup Daily: 39% of Americans Rate Economy as Poor

Based on polling conducted March 4-6, 2008

PRINCETON, NJ -- The latest Gallup Poll Daily tracking update finds 39% of Americans rating the economy as "poor," tying the high mark for the year. Only 20% rate the economy positively.

The public also remains very pessimistic about the economy's direction -- 84% say it is getting worse, while only 11% believe it is getting better.

An analysis of Gallup's daily economic polling from the first six days in March -- consisting of more than 3,000 total interviews -- finds Republicans much more charitable in their ratings of the economy than are independents and Democrats. Republicans are about twice as likely to rate the economy positively as negatively, in stark contrast to Democrats' and independents' ratings.

But Republicans still overwhelmingly say the economy is headed in the wrong direction.

Despite reports that certain areas of the country -- such as the Midwest -- have been hit harder by the struggling economy than others, residents of each of the four regions are equally likely to rate the economy as poor. However, those living in the East and Midwest are somewhat less likely to rate the economy as excellent or good than are those living in the South and West.

In these data, half of black respondents rate the economy as poor, significantly higher than ratings of either whites or Hispanics. Blacks' lower ratings may stem from the fact that they are highly Democratic in their political orientation and tend to have lower household incomes, on average.

Hispanics are somewhat less likely than blacks or whites to view the economy as getting worse, though the vast majority of all three groups still do.

There are always consistent differences in how Americans view the economy, depending on their financial resources. Those at the low end of the income scale are three times more likely to rate the economy as "poor" than to rate it as "excellent" or "good." Those at the high end of the scale are about equally likely to give either a positive or a poor rating.

In contrast, ratings of the economy's course do not vary significantly by household income level.

Methodology: Gallup is interviewing no fewer than 1,000 U.S. adults nationwide each day during 2008. The economic questions analyzed in this report are asked of a random half-sample of respondents. The results reported here are based on combined data from 1,507 interviews conducted March 4-6, 2008. For results based on this sample, the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points.

For results based on the 3,042 interviews conducted March 1-6, the maximum margin of sampling error is ±2 percentage points. The margin of error for subgroups will be slightly larger.

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

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