Attitudes became more negative at the end of the week
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Gallup's Economic Confidence Index registered -15 for the week ending June 15, which is slightly lower than the readings of -14 and -13 in the two previous weeks, but matches the average economic confidence found since mid-March.
Early June readings were among the most positive Gallup has recorded so far in 2014, and suggested that confidence might break out of the negative rut it fell into during the fall of 2013. But that looks slightly less promising now that the index has dipped a point.
In early June 2013, the Economic Confidence Index reached -3, its highest point since daily tracking began in 2008. However, after a rocky summer and a steep drop in October, the index has yet to come close to that point again. After the index recovered near the end of 2013, it has been fairly stable in 2014. It reached a weekly high point of -13 twice, once in early January and again just two weeks ago. The index reached a low point of -20 in early March.
Gallup's three-day rolling averages of the Economic Confidence Index did vary last week, with more positive scores earlier in the week and more negative scores later in the week. After a -12 confidence score in the June 9-11 average, it dipped to -18 in the June 12-14 and June 13-15 averages.
The Gallup Economic Confidence Index is the average of two components: Americans' views on the current economic situation and their economic outlook. In polling for the entire week, which ended June 15, 21% of Americans thought the current economy was "excellent" or "good," while 35% said it was poor, resulting in a current conditions index of -14. Forty percent of Americans said the economy was getting better, while 55% said it was getting worse, for an economic outlook score of -15, a two-point drop from last week's -13.
Economic confidence has been remarkably stable so far in 2014, especially over the last few months. In 2013 at this time, the index was increasing and reached a new high. However, this year has not seen similar gains in optimism. This is despite other economic markers showing growth, such as a new high in Gallup's Job Creation Index and Gallup's U.S. Payroll to Population employment rate continuing to rise.
The Economic Confidence Index showed signs of a possible upturn earlier in the month, but dipped late last week, mostly because of a downturn in the outlook component, possibly in response to a spate of negative news. Conflicts in Iraq have flared up, raising tensions about possible U.S. involvement. Furthermore, oil prices have been rising as the summer travel season begins. The U.S. stock market fell slightly for the week ending June 13, probably as a result of these negative headlines. All of this may have conspired to dampen consumers' recently rekindled hopes about the economy.
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Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted June 9-15, 2014, on the Gallup Daily tracking survey, with a random sample of 3,538 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 ±2 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.