Optimism about economy's future takes small hit
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index held steady at -15 for the week ending May 18. The index inched up three points at the beginning of this month and has generally stayed at that level since.
Gallup's Economic Confidence Index is the average of two components: Americans' views on the current economic situation and their perceptions of whether the economy is getting better or worse. The theoretical high is 100, if all Americans were to say the economy is "excellent" or "good" and that it is getting better; the theoretical low is -100, if all Americans were to say the economy is "poor" and getting worse.
Gallup has been tracking Americans' confidence in the economy daily since 2008. Overall, the weekly index score has ranged from a high of -3 in May and early June 2013 to a low of -65 in October 2008 during the economic recession. Compared with previous years, Americans' views of the economy have been more stable in 2014, showing significantly smaller fluctuations than usual.
Currently, 35% of Americans say economic conditions are poor, while 22% categorize them as excellent (3%) or good (19%). The difference results in a current conditions rating of -13, up two points from the prior week. The remaining 43% say current conditions are "only fair."
Americans are slightly less optimistic about the future of the economy than they were the previous week. Fifty-five percent of Americans perceive the economy to be getting worse, while 39% say it is getting better. This difference results in an economic outlook rating of -16, down three points from the prior week's -13.
Despite flat weekly index readings that spell little to no change in economic confidence, May's readings as a whole could amount to a slight improvement from April's if confidence stays on this track. Dramatic changes in confidence would be out of character for the index so far this year. But since 2014's low of -20 in March, the readings have shown a gradual improvement.
At the moment, confidence in the economy is on the high end of what Gallup has measured the past six-plus years, though it is still a bit shy of the levels measured last May and June.
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 May 12-18, 2014, on the Gallup Daily tracking survey, with a random sample of 3,539 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.