Americans less confident in both current conditions and future outlook
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index was -21 for the week ending Jan. 6, similar to the -22 in the week prior. Americans' confidence in the economy has worsened amid the fiscal cliff debate after improving in November.
Last week's reading encompasses the days during which lawmakers reached a final agreement on resolving the fiscal cliff, culminating in President Obama's signing the bill on Wednesday, Jan. 2. Americans' confidence in the economy climbed to a four-year high in November, before uncertainty surrounding the fiscal cliff apparently caused it to worsen. Although down, confidence has not dropped nearly as low as the August 2011 weekly reading of -54, which came in the aftermath of the debt ceiling debate.
Americans' lower economic confidence is due to worsening views of current conditions and a souring outlook for the future. The -18 economic outlook rating is down significantly from -1 in early November, with 39% of Americans now saying the economy is getting better and 57% saying it is getting worse.
Sixteen percent of Americans say the economy is excellent or good and 40% say it is poor, resulting in a -24 current conditions rating, down from -18 in early November.
As lawmakers in Washington strained to finalize a deal to avert the fiscal cliff, Americans became less confident in the economy. And their confidence remains lower even after Congress passed and President Obama signed into law a bill that successfully staved off the fiscal cliff. Now that the deal is done, it is possible that Americans will start to feel better about the economy in the days and weeks ahead. However, lingering concerns could keep confidence from improving much, as happened in September and October 2011, after the debt ceiling debate.
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Results are based on telephone interviews conducted as part of Gallup Daily tracking Dec. 31, 2012-Jan. 6, 2013, with a random sample of 2,043 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 cellphone 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. Cellphone 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 (cellphone only/landline only/both, cellphone 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.