The majority of Americans continue to say the economy is getting worse
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Gallup's Economic Confidence Index was -27 for the week ending Aug. 12, similar to the -26 the week prior and little changed from the previous eight weeks, during which it has hovered within a narrow range of -29 to -23.
Economic confidence was at a low point early in the week, at -30 in Aug. 6-9 Gallup Daily tracking, perhaps the result of the July increase in unemployment that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced Friday, Aug. 3. However, by the end of the week, confidence recovered to the levels seen over the past eight weeks.
Gallup's Economic Confidence Index consists of two measures -- one assessing current economic conditions and the other assessing the nation's economic outlook. Thirteen percent of Americans say the economy is excellent or good, while 41% consider it poor, resulting in a -28 current conditions rating, unchanged from the previous week -- and little changed since the beginning of July.
The -26 economic outlook rating reflects a slight decline from the previous week, and a considerable decline since early July, with 35% of Americans now saying the economy is getting better and 61% saying it is getting worse.
Over the past two months, Americans' confidence in the economy has declined, and much of the positive momentum seen earlier in the year has been lost, reflecting the current economic situation. The July jobs report the U.S. government released Aug. 3 showed unemployment had increased, but more jobs were added than expected, perhaps preventing a larger decline in confidence.
Stock prices have also generally remained flat over the past several weeks, with no major gains or losses being sustained, and little has changed in the European economy. If economic indicators remain flat, as they have over the past two months, little change can be expected in the Economic Confidence Index. However, the U.S. presidential election may spur a reaction -- possibly invoking a brief rally in Americans' confidence about the direction of the nation, including 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:
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Results are based on telephone interviews conducted as part of Gallup Daily tracking from Aug. 6-12, 2012, with a random sample of 3,376 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, selected using random-digit-dial sampling.
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.