Economy

GALLUP DAILY Measures Explained

Gallup Daily tracks Americans' views on politics, economics, and wellbeing, conducting 1,000 or more interviews each night and posting new numbers each day at 1 p.m.ET at the top of Gallup.com. The Gallup Daily ticker is your launch pad not only to the results of surveys conducted in the last 24 hours, but you can click on any measure to find the complete trend on that item and latest news and discoveries from Gallup analysts.

Click on Politics, Economics, and Wellbeing to read more on each measure.

Obama Job Approval complete GALLUP DAILY trend
Tracking: The percentage of Americans who approve or disapprove of the job Barack Obama is doing as president.

Daily Since: Jan. 21, 2009 (First report Jan. 24, 2009)

Reports Reflect: Three-day rolling average.

What to Look for: Gallup recorded President Bush's highest approval rating, 90%, in September 2001 and his lowest, 25%, in polling conducted Oct. 3-5, 2008.

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Tracking: Two economic indexes key to measuring the health of the U.S. economy. Gallup's Economic Confidence Index combines the responses of Gallup's Economic Conditions and Economic Outlook measures. Gallup's Job Creation Index is the net of Gallup's Job Market measure, calculated by subtracting the percentage of employers letting people go from the percentage hiring. See below for more on each of these individual measures.

Daily Since: Jan. 2, 2008

Reports Reflect: Three-day rolling average.

What to Look for: Throughout most of 2008, Gallup's Economic Confidence Index generally stayed below -40 as a large majority of Americans perceived the economy to be getting worse and between 40% and 50% rated the economy as poor. After the economic collapse in the fall of 2008, more Americans rated the economy poor, but by spring 2009, more than one-third saw the economy getting better, sending the index to new highs in 2009. Gallup's Job Creation Index was positive throughout most of 2008, with hiring easily eclipsing letting go. Since December 2008, the index has generally been negative or even, with layoffs typically on par or greater than job creation.

Economics

Tracking: The percentage of Americans who rate economic conditions in the United States as "excellent", "good", "only fair", or "poor."

Daily Since: Jan. 2, 2008

Reports Reflect: Three-day rolling average.

What to Look for: The number of Americans rating economic conditions as "poor" increased steadily throughout 2008, from about one-quarter in the first weeks of January to a solid majority since mid-September. The percentage of Americans rating the economy as "excellent/good" also shifted significantly, from about one-quarter in January to about 1 out of 10 since October 2008. In the aftermath of the last recession in 1992, 40% or more of Americans consistently rated the economy as "poor", and since that time, that number has typically been one-quarter or less.

Economics

Tracking: The percentage of Americans who think that economic conditions in the country are getting better or getting worse.

Daily Since: Jan. 2, 2008

Reports Reflect: Three-day rolling average.

What to Look for: Throughout 2008, between 73% and 90% of Americans said they think economic conditions in the country as whole are getting worse, with the peak number of 90% occurring twice, in July and in October. The percentage saying the economy is getting better has been at 20% or less for all of 2008. The long-term trend on this measure, which was established in 1991, recorded similar highs in economic pessimism in 2008.

Economics

Tracking: The percentage of Americans who report that their company or employer is hiring new people and expanding the size of its workforce, not changing the size of its workforce, or letting people go and reducing the size of its workforce.

Daily Since: Jan. 2, 2008

Reports Reflect: Three-day rolling average.

What to Look for: At the start of 2008, "hiring" outnumbered "letting go" by about 20 percentage points or more. Since mid-September, "letting go" has increased significantly to eclipse "hiring" toward the end of December.

Economics
Standard of Living complete GALLUP DAILY trend

Tracking: The percentage of Americans who say their standard of living is getting better versus the percentage who say it is getting worse.

Daily Since: Jan. 2, 2008

Reports Reflect: Three-day rolling average.

What to Look for: At the start of 2008, the percentage of Americans who said their standard of living was getting better far eclipsed those who said their standard of living was getting worse, by approximately 20 to 25 percentage points. "Getting worse" began to converge with "getting better" in the summer of 2008, as gas prices surged, and later eclipsed it during the most frenetic days of the economic crisis. The two trends settled closer together at the end of the year.

Economics
Consumer Spending complete GALLUP DAILY trend

Tracking: The average dollar amount Americans report spending or charging on a daily basis, not counting the purchase of a home, motor vehicle, or normal household bills.

Daily Since: Jan. 2, 2008

Reports Reflect: Three-day and 14-day rolling averages.

What to Look for: Throughout 2008, Americans have reported spending an average of $91 per day. The measure shows a good deal of reliability, even when the daily reports are smoothed out with rolling averages.

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Tracking: The percentage of Americans classified as "striving", "struggling", and "suffering". These classifications are based on the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, which asks Americans to evaluate their lives by imagining a "ladder" with steps numbered from 0 to 10, where "0" represents the worst possible life and "10" represents the best possible life. Americans in the "thriving" group say that they presently stand on step 7 or higher of the ladder and expect to stand on step 8 or higher five years from now. Americans in the "suffering" group say they presently stand on steps 0 to 4 of the ladder and expect to stand on steps 0 to 4 five years from now. Those who are neither "thriving" nor "suffering" are considered to be "struggling".

Daily Since: Jan. 2, 2008

Reports Reflect: Three-day rolling average.

What to Look for: At the start of 2008, the percentage of Americans classified as "thriving" was slightly higher than those who were "struggling", with about 50% of Americans considered to be thriving on a regular basis and 45% to 48% consistently struggling. Beginning in April 2008, the number of struggling Americans began to eclipse those who are thriving, a trend that has continued since. In November 2008 the percentage struggling hit a record high of 60% and those thriving were at an all time low of 36%.

Wellbeing

Tracking: The percentage of Americans who, reflecting on the day before they were surveyed, say they experienced a lot of happiness and enjoyment without a lot of stress and worry versus the percentage who say they experienced daily worry and stress without a lot of happiness and enjoyment.

Daily Since: Jan. 1, 2008

Reports Reflect: Feelings experienced the day prior to being surveyed. For example, results reported on a Monday reflect surveys conducted on Sunday about emotions experienced Saturday.

What to Look for: The Gallup-Healthways mood measure shows consistent upswings in mood on weekends and holidays for most Americans. Prior to the acceleration of the financial crisis in September 2008, Gallup found that 58% of Americans reported a lot of happiness and enjoyment without a lot of stress or worry on a typical Saturday or Sunday compared to 46% on a typical Monday. Happiness sunk to new lows in the fall of 2008, coming in below 40% multiple times in September, October, November, and December.

Wellbeing

Tracking: The percentage of Americans classified as "energized" versus "ailing". Ailing Americans are those who, reflecting on the day before they were surveyed, say they experienced physical pain, a headache, a cold, or the flu. Energized Americans are those who, reflecting on the day before they were surveyed, say they were well-rested, had energy, and experienced none of the above ailments.

Daily Since: Jan. 1, 2008

Reports Reflect: Feelings experienced the day prior to being surveyed. For example, results reported on a Monday reflect surveys conducted on Sunday about Saturday.

What to Look for: The Gallup-Healthways health measure, as might be expected, is sensitive to seasonal variations in colds and flu. In 2008, the percent energized was highest in June and July and lowest the first half of December. Daily, the percent ailing peaked at 41% on Dec. 2 and 16, and the percent energized peaked at 62% on July 4.

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