Americans Are More Positive About Local Economy Than National Economy

by Chris McComb

However both local and national economic ratings are down

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- Public perception of economic conditions at the national level has declined considerably over the past few years, but a recent Gallup poll suggests that Americans are much more positive about economic conditions in their own communities and businesses. This contrast marks an example of the general finding that the public consistently is more positive about almost anything local that they are asked to rate -- schools, healthcare, political representation -- than at the national level

Public Less Optimistic About National Economy in 2001 Than In Past Three Years
According to a Gallup poll conducted April 6-8, 2001, only about two in five Americans -- 41% -- feel that the current economic conditions in the United States are "good," and an additional 4% describe the conditions as "excellent." This represents a 22- point decrease from the number who felt that economic conditions in the United States were "good" or "excellent" in January.

The proportion of Americans who rate U.S. economic conditions as "good" or "excellent" has been steadily decreasing over the course of this calendar year, leaving the current average substantially lower than averages from the past three years. However, this year's current average of 52% remains slightly higher than the 1997 average of 49%. It is considerably higher than the 1996 average, when only about one-third of the population -- 35% -- was happy with the national economy.

 

Year

Average Proportion Rating U.S. Economic Conditions as "Excellent" or "Good"

 

%

2001 (to date)

52

2000

70

1999

68

1998

66

1997

49

1996

35



Media coverage has likely had a negative effect on perceptions of the national economy. Three-quarters of the population -- 75% -- believes that recent economic news has been predominantly bad and only 16% say that it was mostly good. That represents an almost complete reversal of the scores given to the same question one year ago. In April 2000, more than seven in 10 Americans -- 71% -- characterized recent economic news as mostly good, while 19% felt that it was mostly bad.

Positive public feelings about the national economy differ according to political party affiliation. Republicans are much happier with the current national economic conditions than independents and Democrats, with nearly three in five Republicans rating the economy as "excellent" or "good" -- 57% -- compared to 44% of independents and 34% of Democrats. Gallup poll analyses have suggested that this reflects the general tendency for those Americans whose party is represented in the White House to be more satisfied with the way things are going than those whose personal political orientation is not the same as the current president.

Two-Thirds Have Positive Impressions of Local Business Conditions
While only 44% of Americans now rate the national economy in positive terms, the public becomes much more optimistic when they are asked about local conditions. Sixty-seven percent give an overall positive rating for local business conditions. Slightly more than one-half of the population -- 54% -- describes the business conditions in their communities as "good" and another 13% describe them as "very good." When Gallup last posed this question in March 1998, the same proportion called their local business conditions "good" --54%--, but a somewhat larger segment -- 23% -- described them as "very good."

Working Americans are even more positive when they are asked about conditions at their place of business -- 81% currently believe that their company or organization is doing "very good" or "good."

Some other key findings of the new poll are:

  • Residents of rural communities are much more pessimistic about local business conditions than are residents of urban or suburban communities. Only about one-half of rural residents -- 51% -- rate their economies as "very good" or "good." Seventy percent of people in urban communities, and 74% in suburban communities, rate their economies so highly.
  • Non-white Americans are more pessimistic than white Americans about local business conditions, with 58% and 69% positive ratings, respectively.
  • Those nearing retirement age, 50 to 64 years old, are much more pessimistic about local business conditions than are younger and older age groups. Three-quarters of 18 to 29-year olds, and 71% of those between 30 and 49, are happy with their local economies, compared to 55% of those 50 to 64 years old. After age 65, the level of happiness with the local economy bounces back to 65%.

Survey Methods

The results below are based on telephone interviews with a randomly selected national sample of 1,025 adults, 18 years and older, conducted April 6-8, 2000. For results based on this sample, one can say with 95 percent confidence that the maximum error attributable to sampling and other random effects is plus or minus 3 percentage points. 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.

How would you rate economic conditions in this country today -- as excellent, good, only fair, or poor?

 


Ex-
cel-
lent



Good


Only
fair



Poor

No
opin-ion

   


Ex-
cel-
lent



Good


Only
fair



Poor

No
opin-ion

 

%

%

%

%

%

   

%

%

%

%

%

2001

           

1996

         

2001 Apr 6-8

4

41

41

14

*

 

1996 Aug 30-Sep 1 †

3

34

46

16

1

             

1996 Jul 18-21

5

38

43

14

*

2001 Mar 5-7

3

43

43

10

1

 

1996 May 9-12

3

27

50

19

1

2001 Feb 1-4

7

44

36

13

*

 

1996 Apr 9-10

1

26

52

20

1

2001 Jan 10-14

11

56

27

6

*

 

1996 Mar 15-17

2

31

48

18

1

2000

           

1996 Jan 5-7

1

28

47

23

1

2000 Dec 2-4

12

51

28

8

1

 

1995

         

2000 Nov 13-15

19

53

21

7

*

 

1995 Nov 6-8

2

28

47

22

1

2000 Oct 6-9

14

57

24

4

1

 

1995 May 11-14

2

27

50

20

1

2000 Aug 18-19

25

49

21

4

1

 

1994

         

2000 Jul 25-26

26

48

21

4

1

 

1994 Dec 16-18

2

25

52

21

*

2000 May 18-21

17

49

24

9

1

 

1994 Nov 2-6

2

28

49

20

1

2000 Apr 3-9

14

46

30

9

1

 

1994 Oct 22-25

1

25

52

21

1

2000 Jan 7-10

19

52

23

5

1

 

1994 Jul 15-17

1

26

52

21

*

1999

           

1994 Apr 22-24

1

23

49

26

1

1999 Oct 21-24

16

49

27

8

*

 

1994 Jan 15-17

*

22

54

24

*

1999 Sep 10-14

20

47

24

8

1

 

1993

         

1999 Aug 24-26

14

50

28

7

1

 

1993 Dec 4-6

1

20

57

21

1

1999 Jun 4-5

18

56

21

5

*

 

1993 Nov 2-4

1

16

50

33

*

1999 Jan 15-17

14

55

27

4

*

 

1993 Aug 8-10

*

10

49

40

1

1998

           

1993 Jun 29-30

1

14

52

32

1

1998 Dec 4-6

13

52

27

8

*

 

1993 Feb 12-14

*

14

46

39

1

1998 Oct 29-Nov 1

13

53

27

6

1

 

1992

         

1998 Sep 1

11

54

25

9

1

 

1992 Dec 18-20

2

16

34

47

1

1998 Mar 20-22

20

46

27

7

*

 

1992 Dec 4-6

1

14

41

43

1

1997

           

1992 Oct 23-25

*

11

45

43

1

1997 Dec 18-21

7

41

38

12

2

 

1992 Sep 11-15

1

10

37

51

1

1997 Nov 6-9

10

48

33

9

*

 

1992 Aug 31-Sep 2 †

1

9

37

53

*

1997 Aug 22-25^

8

41

38

13

*

 

1992 Jun 12-14 †

1

11

47

41

*

1997 May 6-7

7

39

38

15

1

 

1992 Apr 9-12 †

1

11

40

48

*

1997 Jan 31-Feb 2

4

38

43

15

*

 

1992 Jan 3-6

*

12

46

41

1

1996

                       

1996 Oct 26-29

5

42

39

13

1

             
                         
 

^ Asked of half sample

† Asked of Registered Voters

How would you describe business conditions in your community -- would you say they are very good, good, not too good, or bad?

 

Very good


Good

Not too good


Bad

No opinion

Total Good

Total
Bad

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

2001 Apr 6-8

13

54

25

6

2

67

31

1998 Mar 20-22

23

54

16

6

1

77

22

1997 Aug 22-25

15

50

25

9

1

65

34

1996 Mar 8-10

13

58

21

6

2

71

27

1991 Jul 11-14

5

43

37

12

3

48

49

1991 May 16-19

6

44

37

12

2

50

49

1991 Mar 21-24

5

39

37

18

1

44

55

1990 Jul 19-22

10

47

30

11

2

57

41

1975 Jan 10-15

4

37

39

17

3

41

56

1971 Feb 19-22

5

39

37

12

7

44

49

1970 Jul 31-Aug 2

9

44

30

9

7

53

39

1964 Nov 20-25

17

55

20

5

4

72

25

1964 Jun 25-30

13

44

28

9

6

57

37

1964 Feb 28-Mar 5

11

44

31

9

5

55

40

1963 Apr 4-9

10

45

31

10

3

55

41

1962 Dec 13-18

12

52

26

6

4

64

32

1962 Oct 19-24

10

45

30

8

7

55

38

1962 Aug 23-28

10

47

30

7

6

57

37

1962 Jul 26-31

8

45

32

8

7

53

40

1962 Jun 28-Jul 3

14

47

28

6

6

61

34

1961 Oct 19-24

9

45

33

9

4

54

42



Has the economic news you've heard or read about recently been mostly good or mostly bad?

 

 

Mostly good

Mostly bad

MIXED (vol.)

No opinion

 

 

%

 

%

 

%

 

%

2001 Apr 6-8

16

75

6

3

         

2000 Apr 7-9

71

19

5

5

1997 Dec 18-21

51

37

7

5

1997 Jan 31-Feb 2

50

35

9

6

1996 Mar 15-17

37

50

9

4

1994 May 20-22

42

46

6

6

1993 Dec 4-6

39

48

9

4



How well is the company or organization that you work for doing -- would you say business conditions there are very good, good, not too good, or bad?

BASED ON -- 631 -- EMPLOYED ADULTS; ±4 PCT. PTS.

 

 

 

Very
good


Good

 

Not too good


Bad

DOESN'T APPLy (vol.)

 

No
opinion

             

2001 Apr 6-8

28%

53

14

4

1

*



(vol.) Volunteered response

* Less than .5%

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Gallup http://www.gallup.com/poll/1759/Americans-More-Positive-About-Local-Economy-Than-National-Economy.aspx
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