Americans' pessimism about economy's direction contributes to decline
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Gallup Economic Confidence Index dipped to -18 for the week ending Feb. 9 -- the lowest weekly reading so far in 2014. The index is similar to the -17 measured during the prior two weeks and January's monthly average of -16. Americans' confidence in the economy has been falling since it reached this year's weekly high of -13 in early January. The index was 10 points more positive in early February 2013 than it is now.
Americans' economic confidence dropped sharply in October during the federal government shutdown, but it slowly recovered through the end of 2013. Since then, however, confidence has declined modestly, which may be related to the rocky stock market.
The Gallup Economic Confidence Index is the average of two components: Americans' views on current economic conditions in the United States and their perceptions of whether the economy is getting better or worse. Americans' increasingly pessimistic economic outlook has contributed more to the index's decline in 2014 than their assessments of current economic conditions.
Last week, 39% of Americans said the economy was getting better, while 55% felt it was getting worse. This resulted in a net economic outlook score of -16, slightly lower than in previous weeks and the lowest yet in 2014.
At the same time, 18% of Americans rated the economy as excellent or good, while 37% called it poor. This resulted in a net current conditions score of -19, similar to the -20 found the week prior and within the -17 to -20 range seen since the beginning of the year.
Gallup's Economic Confidence Index remains in negative territory, and the index last week extended the downward trend that began in early January. Americans are increasingly pessimistic about the future of the economy, while their views on current conditions are largely unchanged.
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 for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Feb. 3-9, 2014, on the Gallup Daily tracking survey, with a random sample of 3,038 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, the margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.
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 of national adults includes a minimum quota of 50% cellphone respondents and 50% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas 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 to correct for unequal selection probability, nonresponse, and double coverage of landline and cell users in the two sampling frames. They are also weighted to match the national demographics of gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, population density, and phone status (cellphone only/landline only/both, cellphone mostly, and having an unlisted landline number). Demographic weighting targets are based on the most recent Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older U.S. population. Phone status targets are based on the most recent National Health Interview Survey. Population density targets are based on the most recent U.S. census. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting.
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.