PRINCETON, NJ -- After surging in May, Americans' economic confidence receded in early June and remains near its 2011 low, averaging -33 in the week ending June 26. This is down seven percentage points from the week ending May 29 and down a similar amount compared with the same week a year ago.
U.S. economic confidence peaked this year at -18 in February and then generally declined, reaching -39 during week ending April 24, as gas prices surged and economic activity slowed. Confidence increased in May, averaging -26, likely in response to the news of Osama bin Laden's death in a U.S. military raid.
Gallup's Economic Confidence Index combines two measures: one assessing Americans' views about whether the U.S. economy is "getting better" or "getting worse," and the second involving Americans' ratings of current economic conditions as "excellent," "good," "only fair," or "poor." Both ratings have deteriorated thus far in June.
Fewer Americans See Economy "Getting Better"
In the most recent week, 31% of Americans said the U.S. economy is getting better -- on par with what Gallup has measured throughout June, but down from 37% weekly readings during most of May. The latest reading is also down from 36% during the same week in 2010.
More Americans Rate the Economy "Poor"
Forty-five percent of Americans rated current economic conditions "poor" in the week ending June 26 -- three points worse than the 42% readings during the week ending May 29 and a year ago. June's "poor" ratings are at or near their highest levels of 2011.
The worsening of Gallup's economic confidence measure during June may be due in part to the dissipation of the "halo effect" surrounding the death of bin Laden. Confidence has now moved back near the April 2011 low. This suggests that the consumer benefits associated with steadily declining gas prices at the pump -- down 14 cents per gallon in the past two weeks -- are being offset by other factors. One such factor might just be that gas prices remain 82 cents per gallon higher than they were a year ago. Another could be the continuing dismal jobs situation.
Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke last week seemed to add to the growing economic pessimism, noting that the Fed has reduced its 2011 growth forecast for the U.S. economy. Wall Street continues to suffer as a result of the Fed's apparent confirmation of the economic "soft patch" and the financial problems in Europe. The battle over raising the debt ceiling has not disrupted the money markets to this point, but certainly represents another negative for overall economic confidence.
It may be that declining gas prices will eventually lead to improved consumer confidence and increased consumer spending, which could make the current economic soft patch modest and transitory. At this point, however, Gallup's monitoring of economic confidence does not support that idea.
Gallup.com reports results from these indexes in daily, weekly, and monthly averages and in Gallup.com stories. Complete trend data are always available to view and export in the following charts:
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Results are based on telephone interviews conducted on a weekly basis in 2011 to the week ending June 26 and in 2010 to the week ending June 27. For the week ending June 26, 2011, on the Gallup Daily tracking survey, interviews were conducted with a random sample of 3,463 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points.
Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones and cellular phones, with interviews conducted in Spanish for respondents who are primarily Spanish-speaking. Each sample includes a minimum quota of 400 cell phone respondents and 600 landline respondents per 1,000 national adults, with additional minimum quotas among landline respondents for gender within region. Landline telephone numbers are chosen at random among listed telephone numbers. Cell phone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods. Landline respondents are chosen at random within each household on the basis of which member had the most recent birthday.
Samples are weighted by gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, adults in the household, and phone status (cell phone only/landline only/both, cell phone mostly, and having an unlisted landline number). Demographic weighting targets are based on the March 2010 Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older non-institutionalized population living in U.S. telephone households. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting and sample design.
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.
For more details on Gallup's polling methodology, visit www.gallup.com.