U.S. Economic Confidence Unchanged Last Week

U.S. Economic Confidence Unchanged Last Week

by Frank Newport

Confidence improved from last fall, but not yet into positive territory

PRINCETON, NJ -- U.S. economic confidence for the week ending May 13 is -18, unchanged from the previous week, meaning Americans are maintaining a slightly more positive outlook on the U.S. economy than was recorded during April.

Gallup Economic Confidence Index -- Weekly Averages, August 2011-May 2012

The lack of change this past week is on the one hand good news, because -18 is essentially as positive as the index has been, going back to January 2008, when Gallup began tracking economic confidence on a weekly basis. On the other hand, despite its relative improvement, the current reading is still in negative territory, with Americans more likely to say the economy is poor than to say it is excellent or good, and more likely to say it is getting worse than to say it is getting better.

Both of these components of Gallup's Economic Confidence Index -- Americans' ratings of the current economy and Americans' perceptions of the economy's direction -- have remained steady over the last week. In general, Americans are more positive about the economy's direction than its current status. Last summer, when the overall index was very negative, Americans rated the current economy better, while they were more pessimistic about its direction.

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

Democrats Remain Most Positive

Democrats continue to be more confident than independents or Republicans about the economy, as has been the case since January 2009 after Barack Obama took office. Republicans' and, to a lesser extent, Democrats' confidence dropped slightly this past week, while independents' confidence rose slightly.

Economic Confidence Index, by Political Party, Weekly Averages

Bottom Line

Gallup's ongoing measure of economic confidence has leveled off in recent months at the more positive level reached in early March, albeit with some week-to-week variation. From a short-term perspective, the current economic confidence reading of -18 represents a stark contrast to last August, when the index reached as low as -54 after the debt ceiling debate and the drop in the stock market. From a longer-term perspective, Americans' confidence in the economy as measured by this index has still not ratcheted back up into positive territory, and Americans can thus perhaps be typified as hopeful about the economy, but still waiting to see the "proof in the pudding."

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 May 7-13, 2012, with a random sample of 3,398 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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