U.S. Economic Confidence Steady at Relatively Improved Level

U.S. Economic Confidence Steady at Relatively Improved Level

by Frank Newport

Democrats remain more confident than independents or Republicans

PRINCETON, NJ -- U.S. economic confidence for the week ending May 6 is at -18, up slightly from the previous week and slightly better than the -20 average for the month of April. Weekly confidence remains within one percentage point of the highest average Gallup has measured since it began tracking economic confidence daily in early 2008.

Gallup Economic Confidence Index -- Weekly Averages

The most recent results, based on Gallup Daily tracking conducted April 30-May 6, are at the top end of the range measured over the last year, and slightly better than several peaks of economic confidence reached in 2009 and 2010. Still, the current economic confidence reading on an absolute basis remains in negative territory, far below where it was at previous points, such as the late 1990s.

Gallup's Economic Confidence Index is based on two components: Americans' ratings of the current economy and Americans' predictions for the economy's direction.

Americans' views on the direction of the economy remain higher on a relative basis than their ratings of current economic conditions, as has been the case since last December. Last week, 42% of Americans said the economy is getting better -- just below the high of 44% recorded in March. A little more than half (53%) of Americans say the economy is getting worse, within two points of its low over the same period. This is improved from the high of 88% of Americans who in three separate weekly averages in June and October 2008 said the economy was getting worse.

Gallup Economic Confidence Sub-Indexes -- Weekly Averages Since August 2011

Democrats Remain Most Positive

Democrats continue to be much more confident about the economy than independents or, in particular, Republicans, as they have been since shortly after President Barack Obama took office in 2009. Democrats' score on the Economic Confidence Index is 14, while independents come in at -27 and Republicans at -38. Compared with last week, Republicans and Democrats have become more positive, while independents' confidence slipped slightly.

Economic Confidence Index, by Political Party, Weekly Averages Since January 2011

This party divide in economic confidence reflects in large part the fact that a Democrat is in the White House. In 2008, when Gallup began tracking economic confidence on a daily basis, Republicans were significantly more positive about the economy than either independents or Democrats.

Bottom Line

Gallup's ongoing measure of economic confidence remains at a relatively high level, slightly higher last week than the previous week. The latest weekly average of -18 is also higher than April's average of -20, which was the highest monthly average since Gallup initiated Daily tracking in 2008. Still, Americans' ratings of current economic conditions and their views about the economy's direction remain more negative than positive, underscoring that there is a long way to go before Americans on an absolute basis are once again feeling good about the economy.

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:

Daily: Employment, Economic Confidence, Job Creation, Consumer Spending
Weekly: Employment, Economic Confidence, Job Creation, Consumer Spending

Read more about Gallup's economic measures.

View our economic release schedule.

Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone interviews conducted as part of Gallup Daily tracking April 30-May 6, 2012, with a random sample of 3,426 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 ±2 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 by 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 2011 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.

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