WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index improved to -18 for the week ending March 16, after falling to -20 the prior week. Last week's index is comparable to several so far in 2014, and represents a continuation of Americans' negative economic outlook.
After a dip in March 2013 as the federal government budget sequester began, Americans' economic confidence improved by the end of May to -3, the highest to date since just after the recession began, in 2008. However, it fell to -20 in September as partisan disagreement over the budget escalated in Congress, and fell further to -39 in October during the government shutdown. While confidence gradually recovered to -13 by the start of 2014, it has since languished, averaging -16 weekly so far in 2014.
The Gallup Economic Confidence Index is the average of two components: Americans' views on current economic conditions and their perceptions of whether the U.S. economy is getting better or worse. In the most recent polling, both measures improved slightly, resulting in an overall index score of -18.
Nineteen percent of Americans said the economy was "excellent" or "good" in the most recent polling, while 37% said it was "poor." As has been the case since last May, more Americans said the economy was getting worse (56%) than getting better (39%).
Americans continue to be more negative than positive about the economy. But they are currently somewhat less negative than they have been at other points since 2008, including during the fiscal crisis, periods of high unemployment, and government battles over the debt ceiling and trimming the federal budget. Still, Gallup's Economic Confidence Index is below the post-recession high of -3 from last May, and has stagnated so far in 2014 near its current level of -18.
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 March 10-16, 2014, on the Gallup Daily tracking survey, with a random sample of 3,546 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 time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone 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, and cellphone mostly). 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.