Lower Ratings of Economy Continue, Little Changed from Last Month

by David W. Moore

Forty-two percent give economy excellent or good rating

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- The latest monthly Gallup poll on public sentiment toward the economy shows little change from last month, and in fact little change over the past several months. About four out of ten Americans give the economy a positive rating, much lower than as recently as January of this year. Expectations for the economy's performance in the immediate future show widespread pessimism, as they have for several months. The last month in which people were more optimistic than pessimistic was last November, after a slight drop from October. Over the following three months, public expectations continued to drop, reaching a low in February. Since then, future expectations have wallowed in the negative range, showing little variation.

This month's poll on the economy was conducted June 11-17, and shows that 42% of Americans rate the economy as excellent or good, 45% as fair, and 12% as poor. These results are within a few percentage points of the results found last month and represent no significant change. In January of this year, 67% of Americans rated the economy as excellent or good, and just 6% as poor. Four years ago, in late May 1997, public ratings of the economy were similar to what they are now -- 46% said excellent or good, and 15% said poor. It is worth noting that nine years ago, in June 1992, perceptions of the economy were so negative than only 12% rated it excellent or good and 41% rated it as poor.

Public Rating of Economy
October 2000 - June 2001

Americans' expectations about where the economy is headed continue to be more negative than positive, as 60% say that economic conditions are getting worse, while just 29% say better. Over the past five months, the negative sentiment about the immediate future of the economy has remained steady -- but highly negative. The percentage of people saying the economy is getting worse has fluctuated between 60% and 66%, while the percentage saying better has fluctuated in the 23% to 29% range. These numbers represent a stark difference from those measured from the fall of 1998 through the fall of 2000, when the positive responses outnumbered the negative by at least 10 percentage points, with the difference occasionally ranging over 30 points. And the last time more people said the economy was getting worse rather than better, before the current economic cycle, was in the summer of 1996.

Future Expectations of Economy
October 2000 - June 2001

Another indication that public sentiment about the economy is holding steady is that 26% of Americans identify some aspect of the economy as the most important problem facing the country today. Last month, the comparable figure was 31%, and the previous month 33%. While these numbers suggest perhaps a slightly improving situation, with somewhat fewer people identifying the economy among the most important national problems, it is still too soon to say whether the decline represents a trend or just a normal fluctuation in the polls. (This most important problem question is open-ended, meaning that Americans are asked to identify what they consider to be the most important problem facing the country off the top of their heads, with no prompting of suggestions.)

MOST IMPORTANT PROBLEM: NATIONAL ADULT TREND

   

Jun 11-17, 2001

May 10-14,
2001

Apr 6-8,
2001

Mar 5-7,
2001

Jan 10-14,
2001

Apr 3-9,
2000

               
   

%

%

%

%

%

%

 

ECONOMIC PROBLEMS (NET)

26

31

33

29

22

--

1

Economy in general

10

10

15

10

7

4

2

Unemployment/jobs

4

6

6

4

4

2

3

Taxes

4

4

4

7

5

3

4

Fuel/oil Prices

4

9

1

1

2

4

5

High cost of living/inflation

3

1

7

2

1

1

6

Federal budget deficit/federal debt

1

1

1

2

1

1

7

Trade relations/deficit

1

*

1

*

*

*

8

Gap between rich and poor

1

1

2

1

1

1

9

Wage issues

1

*

*

1

1

1

 

Recession

--

*

--

3

4

*

 

Other specific economic

--

2

--

1

*

1

               
 

NON-ECONOMIC PROBLEMS (NET)

75

68

69

76

77

--

1

Education

12

9

10

16

12

11

2

Crime/violence

9

7

6

8

9

12

3

Ethics/moral/religious/family decline; dishonesty; lack of integrity

9

8

9

11

13

7

4

Poverty/ hunger/ homelessness

8

4

4

5

4

6

5

Lack of energy sources; the energy crisis

7

12

2

2

4

*

6

Poor healthcare/ hospitals; high cost of healthcare

6

4

5

7

7

6

7

Dissatisfaction with government/ Congress/ politicians/ candidates; Poor leadership; corruption

6

5

7

5

9

11

8

Drugs

5

5

6

6

7

5

9

Environment/ pollution

5

3

3

2

2

2

10

Judicial system/courts/laws

3

1

2

1

1

1

11

International issues/ problems

3

*

3

4

4

2

12

Race relations/ racism

3

2

2

2

4

3

13

Medicare/Social Security issues

3

3

2

4

3

3

14

Children's behavior/ way they are raised

3

4

6

6

3

3

15

Lack of military defense

2

1

1

2

2

1

16

Immigration/illegal aliens

2

1

1

*

2

1

17

Foreign aid/focus overseas

2

3

1

1

*

*

18

Lack of respect for each other

2

1

1

1

--

--

19

Fear of war

1

*

1

2

*

1

20

Care for the elderly

1

*

1

1

2

2

21

Guns/gun control

1

1

1

4

1

5

22

Abortion

1

1

1

1

1

1

23

National security

1

*

*

1

--

--

24

Lack of money

1

2

--

--

--

--

25

Overpopulation

1

*

1

1

1

*

26

Welfare

1

1

1

1

2

1

27

School shootings/school violence

1

*

3

5

0

*

28

Cancer/Diseases

1

--

1

--

--

--

29

Unifying the country

*

1

*

1

1

--

30

The media

*

*

1

1

1

--

31

AIDS

*

--

--

--

*

*

32

Child abuse

*

*

*

--

1

1

 

Situation/Conflict with China

--

2

7

--

--

--

 

Election/election reform

--

*

1

*

2

--

 

Advancement of computers/technology

--

--

--

*

0

--

 

Other non-economic

5

6

4

1

3

11

               
 

No opinion

5

6

7

7

8

5

 

Total

139%

127%

138%

141%

135%

125%

               

Total adds to more than 100% due to multiple responses

           

Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone interviews with 1,004 national adults, aged 18+, conducted June 11-17, 2001. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the margin of sampling error is +/- 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.

 

Now turning to the economy,

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

 

 

Excellent

Good

Only fair

Poor

No opinion

           

2001 Jun 11-17

         

National Adults

3%

39

45

12

1



NATIONAL ADULT TREND

 


Ex-
cel-
lent



Good


Only
fair



Poor

No
opin-ion

   


Ex-
cel-
lent



Good


Only
fair



Poor

No
opin-ion

 

%

%

%

%

%

   

%

%

%

%

%

2001

           

1996

         

2001 May 10-14

3

37

45

15

*

 

1996 Aug 30-Sep 1 †

3

34

46

16

1

2001 Apr 6-8

4

41

41

14

*

 

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

           

1992 Jan 3-6

*

12

46

41

1

1996 Oct 26-29

5

42

39

13

1

 

1992 Jan 3-6

*

12

46

41

1

 

^ Asked of half sample

Right now, do you think that economic conditions in the country as a whole are getting better or getting worse?

 

 

Getting better

Getting worse

SAME (vol.)

No opinion

         

2001 Jun 11-17

       

National Adults

29%

60

8

3



NATIONAL ADULT AND REGISTERED VOTERS TREND

 


Get-
ting
better


Get-
ting
worse


SAME
(vol.)


No opinion

   


Get-
ting
better


Get-
ting
worse


SAME
(vol.)

 

No
opinion

 

%

%

%

%

   

%

%

%

%

2001

         

1998

       

(NA) 2001 May 10-14

25

63

9

3

 

(NA) 1998 Sep 1

45

41

11

3

(NA) 2001 Apr 6-8

24

63

9

4

 

(NA) 1997 Dec 18-21

49

39

8

4

(NA) 2001 Mar 5-7

28

61

7

4

 

(NA) 1997 Nov 6-9

51

37

9

3

(NA) 2001 Feb 1-4

23

66

8

3

 

(NA) 1997 May 6-7

50

40

7

3

(NA) 2001 Jan 10-14

32

56

8

4

 

(NA) 1997 Jan 31-Feb 2

46

39

12

3

2000

         

1996

       

(NA) 2000 Dec 2-4

39

48

8

5

 

(NA) 1996 Oct 26-29

50

38

7

5

(NA) 2000 Nov 13-15

50

38

9

3

 

(RV) 1996 Aug 30-Sep 1

52

37

8

3

(NA) 2000 Oct 6-9

54

34

10

2

 

(NA) 1996 Jul 18-21

43

46

9

2

(NA) 2000 Aug 18-19

60

26

10

4

 

(NA) 1996 May 9-12

39

49

9

3

(NA) 2000 Jul 25-26

58

29

9

4

 

1992

       

(NA) 2000 May 18-21

52

37

9

2

 

(RV) 1992 Aug 31-Sep 2

29

59

10

2

(NA) 2000 Jan 7-10

69

23

6

2

 

(RV) 1992 Aug 10-12

24

65

10

1

1999

         

(RV) 1992 Jun 12-14

28

61

9

2

(NA) 1999 Oct 21-24

52

34

11

3

 

(RV) 1992 Apr 9-12

40

45

13

2

(NA) 1999 Sep 10-14

59

29

9

3

 

(RV) 1992 Mar 20-22

37

51

11

1

(NA) 1999 Aug 24-26

54

31

12

3

 

(RV) 1992 Jan 31-Feb 1

22

70

7

1

(NA) 1999 Jun 4-5

60

27

9

4

 

(NA) 1992 Jan 3-6

22

71

6

1

(NA) 1999 Jan 15-17

63

28

6

3

 

1991

       

1998

         

(NA) 1991 Dec 5-8

19

69

9

3

(NA) 1998 Dec 4-6

52

38

8

2

 

(NA) 1991 Sep 5-8

27

60

10

3

(NA) 1998 Oct 29-Nov 1

51

38

8

3

 

(NA) 1991 Jul 11-14

34

51

9

6

*Less than 0.5%

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