Economic Attitudes Indicate Encroaching Anxieties

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Americans are increasingly bracing for overcast economic skies: Only one in four U.S. adults (25%) believe the economy will improve in the coming year, down from a third (32%) at the beginning of 2015. Conversely, 27% believe the economy is going to get worse in the coming year – up from 21% in January.

  • Millennials (32%) and Democrats (38%) are most likely to believe the state of the U.S. economy will improve.
  • Meanwhile, Baby Boomers (31%) and Republicans (39%) are most likely to say it will get worse.

Looking toward the homestead, 23% of Americans expect their own household’s financial condition to get better in the next six months – on par with April (also 23%) but down from earlier in the year (27% January, 26% February); meanwhile, belief that the economic state of the household will backslide (22%) has risen some since February (19%).

  • Men are more likely than women (28% vs. 19%) to expect their household’s financial condition to improve in the next six months, while women are more likely (59% vs. 50%) to believe it will remain the same.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,220 adults surveyed online between June 17 and 22, 2015.

President Obama’s ratings down as well

Positive ratings of President Obama’s overall job performance, which jumped a bit to 41% last month, are now back at 38% (identical to April). Strong majorities of Democrats (68%) and Liberals (70%) give the President positive ratings, while even stronger majorities of Republicans (92%) and Conservatives (86%) give him negative ratings. As for Independents, two-thirds (66%) give the President negative overall ratings while one-third (34%) give him positive ratings.

When asked to rate President Obama’s performance specifically in regards to the economy, positive ratings, at 36%, are the lowest they’ve been since last December (when they were at 34%). Correspondingly, negative ratings (64%) are the highest they’ve been in 2015 to date.

Ratings for Congress and overall state of the country also low

Congress spends its third month in a row just short of a double-digit positive rating, with 9% giving it positive ratings and 91% rating it negatively. Here the parties (and those without a party) are united, with low positive ratings across political lines (7% among Republicans, 10% each among Democrats and Independents).

Ratings improve a bit in relation to one’s own member of the House of Representatives, with one-fourth of Americans (24%) rating their own representative positively, 63% rating them negatively and 13% saying they’re not familiar enough with their representative to give a rating.

Similar to economic and presidential ratings, the perception that the country is headed in the right direction is at its lowest point of 2015, with three in ten affirming this position (30%, down from 35% last month) while seven in ten (70%, up from 65% last month) feel the country has gotten off on the wrong track. Democrats are split on whether things in the country are going in the right direction (50%) or have gotten off on the wrong track (also 50%), while majorities of Republicans (86%) and Independents (75%) believe things have gotten off on the wrong track. 

 

TABLE 1a

PRESIDENT OBAMA’S JOB RATING – TREND

“How would you rate the overall job President Barack Obama is doing?”

Base: All adults

 

TREND

Positive*

Negative**

%

%

2015

June

38

62

 

May

41

59

Apr

38

62

Mar

37

63

Feb

38

62

Jan (post-SOTU)

42

58

Jan (pre-SOTU)

39

61

2014

December

33

67

 

November

35

65

October

34

66

September

30

70

August

32

68

July

34

66

June

38

62

May

38

62

April

33

67

March

35

65

February

35

65

January

32

68

2013

December

34

66

 

November

32

68

October

35

65

September

34

66

July

39

61

June

41

59

March

38

62

2012

December

45

55

 

September

41

59

April

41

59

March

40

60

January

36

64

2011

December

36

64

 

November

34

66

October

33

67

September

32

68

July

38

62

May

46

54

April

38

62

March

39

61

Feb.

42

58

Jan.

44

56

2010

Dec.

36

64

 

Nov.

38

62

Oct.

37

63

Sept.

38

62

Aug.

40

60

June

39

61

May

42

58

March

41

59

Jan.

40

60

2009

Dec.

41

59

 

Nov.

43

57

Oct.

45

55

Sept.

49

51

Aug.

51

49

June

54

46

May

59

41

April

58

42

March

55

45

*Positive = excellent or pretty good.  **Negative = only fair or poor.

 

 

TABLE 1b

PRESIDENT OBAMA’S JOB RATING – By Political Party & Political Ideology

“How would you rate the overall job President Barack Obama is doing?”

Base: All adults

 

Total

Political Party

Political Ideology

Rep.

Dem.

Ind.

Cons.

Mod.

Lib.

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

POSITIVE

38

8

68

34

14

38

70

    Excellent

7

*

17

4

2

6

16

    Pretty good

31

8

51

30

11

32

54

NEGATIVE

62

92

32

66

86

62

30

    Only fair

28

26

24

32

21

35

22

    Poor

34

66

8

35

65

27

8

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding 

 


TABLE 2a

PRESIDENT OBAMA’S JOB RATING ON THE ECONOMY – TREND

“Now, turning to something different, how would you rate the overall job that President Barack Obama is doing on the economy?”

Base: All adults

 

2009

2010

March

April

May

June

Aug

Sept

Nov

Dec

Jan

Mar

Apr

May

June

Aug

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

POSITIVE (NET)

47

49

46

43

39

40

34

36

31

32

33

36

32

32

29

27

31

30

      Excellent

13

13

10

3

9

7

6

6

5

5

6

6

5

6

5

5

5

5

      Pretty good

34

36

36

34

31

33

27

30

25

27

27

30

27

26

24

22

26

25

NEGATIVE (NET)

53

51

54

57

61

60

66

64

69

68

67

64

68

68

71

73

69

70

      Only fair

30

27

30

27

25

27

30

30

31

30

31

29

32

29

31

33

30

34

      Poor

23

24

24

30

36

33

37

34

39

37

36

34

37

39

40

39

39

36

 

 

2011

2012

2013

Jan

Feb*

Mar

May

June

July

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Feb

Mar

Apr

June

July

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

POSITIVE (NET)

33

33

33

32

27

26

21

23

22

25

25

32

32

36

33

39

35

33

29

30

30

29

  Excellent

7

9

5

7

5

3

2

3

3

4

2

3

5

4

6

6

5

5

4

5

6

4

  Pretty good

26

24

28

26

22

23

18

20

20

22

22

29

27

32

27

32

31

28

28

25

24

25

NEGATIVE (NET)

67

62

67

68

73

74

79

77

78

75

75

68

68

64

67

61

65

67

71

70

70

71

   Only fair

30

22

29

28

30

33

33

36

32

34

34

30

29

26

26

26

29

29

31

28

29

30

   Poor

37

39

38

40

43

41

46

41

46

41

41

38

39

38

41

35

36

38

40

42

41

41

 

 

2014

2015

 

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

June

July

Aug

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

Jan (pre-SOTU)

Jan (Post-SOTU)

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

June

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

POSITIVE (NET)

28

31

31

32

35

32

30

30

29

33

35

34

39

42

40

38

38

39

36

      Excellent

5

4

5

5

5

7

7

6

6

5

8

9

10

10

9

10

10

10

8

      Pretty good

23

27

26

27

29

25

23

25

24

27

26

25

29

32

31

28

27

29

28

NEGATIVE (NET)

72

69

69

68

65

68

70

70

71

67

65

66

61

58

60

62

62

61

64

      Only fair

30

29

27

29

26

28

27

31

31

29

29

30

26

27

28

28

28

25

28

      Poor

42

40

42

39

39

40

43

39

40

38

36

36

34

31

32

34

35

35

35

Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding; *In February 2012 “Not at all sure” was offered as a response choice and 4% responded in that way.

 


TABLE 2b

PRESIDENT OBAMA’S JOB RATING ON THE ECONOMY – By Political Party & Political Ideology

“Now, turning to something different, how would you rate the overall job that President Barack Obama is doing on the economy?”

Base: All adults

 

Total

Political Party

Political Ideology

Rep.

Dem.

Ind.

Cons.

Mod.

Lib.

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

POSITIVE

36

7

64

33

14

36

66

    Excellent

8

*

18

4

1

7

19

    Pretty good

28

7

46

28

13

29

47

NEGATIVE

64

93

36

67

86

64

34

    Only fair

28

25

26

33

21

35

24

    Poor

35

68

10

35

64

30

10

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

 

 

TABLE 3a

CONGRESS’ OVERALL JOB RATING – Trend

“How would you rate the overall job Congress is doing?”

Base: All adults

 

TREND

Positive*

Negative**

%

%

2015

June

9

91

 

May

9

91

April

9

91

March

7

93

February

9

91

Jan (post-SOTU)

10

90

Jan (Pre-SOTU)

9

91

2014

December

7

93

 

October

8

92

September

7

93

August

8

92

July

9

91

June

10

90

May

7

93

April

7

93

March

8

92

February

8

92

January

6

94

2013

December

5

95

 

November

7

93

October

4

96

September

7

93

July

9

91

June

9

91

March

6

94

2012

December

8

92

 

April

11

89

March

9

91

January

6

94

2011

December

5

95

 

July

8

92

May

13

87

January

16

84

2010

December

11

89

 

June

14

86

March

10

90

Jan.

16

84

2009

Dec.

17

83

 

Oct.

16

84

June

25

75

March

29

71

2008

October

10

86

 

August

18

77

June

13

83

February

20

76

2007

December

17

79

 

October

20

77

April

27

69

February

33

62

2006

September

24

73

 

May

18

80

February

25

71

January

25

72

*Positive = excellent or pretty good.  **Negative = only fair or poor.

 

 

TABLE 3b

CONGRESS’ OVERALL JOB RATING – By Political Party & Political Ideology

“How would you rate the overall job Congress is doing?”

Base: All adults

 

Total

Political Party

Political Ideology

Rep.

Dem.

Ind.

Cons.

Mod.

Lib.

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

POSITIVE

9

7

10

10

8

9

10

    Excellent

1

*

2

1

1

1

1

    Pretty good

8

7

8

9

7

8

10

NEGATIVE

91

93

90

90

92

91

90

    Only fair

40

51

34

35

51

38

27

    Poor

51

42

57

56

40

53

63

                Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

* indicates fewer than <0.5% selected this response

— indicates no selections for this response

 


TABLE 4

INDIVIDUAL MEMBER OF CONGRESS’ OVERALL JOB RATING – Trend

“How would you rate the overall job your Member of the House of Representatives is doing?”

Base: All adults

 

Nov
2013

Dec
2013

Jan
2014

March
2014

June
2014

Sept 2014

Oct 2014

Mar 2015

Apr 2015

May 2015

June 2015

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

POSITIVE

19

20

20

21

22

18

23

22

24

22

24

    Excellent

3

4

4

4

4

3

4

4

3

4

3

    Pretty good

15

17

17

17

18

15

19

19

21

18

21

NEGATIVE

71

69

68

68

65

70

65

66

63

66

63

    Only fair

31

31

34

34

32

36

35

36

38

37

34

    Poor

39

38

34

34

32

34

30

30

25

28

28

Not familiar enough to rate

11

11

12

11

13

12

12

12

13

13

13

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

 

 

TABLE 4b

INDIVIDUAL MEMBER OF CONGRESS’ OVERALL JOB RATING  – Political Party & Political Ideology

“How would you rate the overall job your Member of the House of Representatives is doing?”

Base: All adults

 

Total

Political Party

Political Ideology

Rep.

Dem.

Ind.

Cons.

Mod.

Lib.

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

POSITIVE

24

27

23

24

29

21

24

    Excellent

3

3

4

3

4

3

3

    Pretty good

21

24

20

21

25

18

20

NEGATIVE

63

63

59

65

61

64

61

    Only fair

34

39

32

34

36

37

27

    Poor

28

24

28

32

25

27

34

Not familiar enough to rate

13

10

17

10

10

14

15

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding


TABLE 5a 

RIGHT DIRECTION OR WRONG TRACK – TREND

“Generally speaking, would you say things in the country are going in the right direction or have they pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track?”

Base: All adults

 

TREND

Right Direction

Wrong Track

%

%

2015

June

30

70

 

May

35

65

April

33

67

March

35

65

Feb

38

62

Jan (Post-SOTU)

44

56

Jan (Pre-SOTU)

38

62

2014

December

30

70

 

November

34

66

October

34

66

September

29

71

August

32

68

July

31

69

June

33

67

May

35

65

April

34

66

March

34

66

February

34

66

January

31

69

2013

December

33

67

 

November

30

70

October

20

80

September

29

71

July

34

66

May

39

61

2012

March

34

66

 

January

27

73

2011

August

16

84

 

May

39

61

2010

December

29

71

 

April

39

61

2009

August

46

54

 

January

19

72

2008

October

11

83

 

February

23

69

2007

December

18

74

 

February

29

62

2006

May

24

69

 

February

32

59

2005

November

27

68

 

January

46

48

2004

September

38

57

 

June

35

59

2003

December

35

57

 

June

44

51

2002

December

36

57

 

June

46

48

2001

December

65

32

 

June

43

52

2000

October

50

41

 

June

40

51

1999

June

37

55

 

March

47

45

1998

December

43

51

 

June

48

44

1997

December

39

56

 

April

36

55

1996

December

38

50

 

June

29

64

1995

December

26

62

 

June

24

65

1994

December

29

63

 

June

28

65

1993

June

21

70

 

March

39

50

1992

June

12

81

 

January

20

75

1991

December

17

75

 

January

58

32

 

 

TABLE 5b

RIGHT DIRECTION OR WRONG TRACK – By Political Party and Political Ideology

“Generally speaking, would you say things in the country are going in the right direction or have they pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track?”

Base: All adults

 

Total

Political Party

Political Ideology

Rep.

Dem.

Ind.

Cons.

Mod.

Lib.

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Right direction

30

14

50

25

16

30

49

Wrong track

70

86

50

75

84

70

51

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

 


TABLE 6a

 EXPECTATIONS FOR THE ECONOMY IN THE COMING YEAR – TREND

“In the coming year, do you expect the economy to…?”

Base: All adults

 

2009

2010

April

May

Aug

Sept

Oct

May

June

Aug

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Improve

39

38

46

40

34

38

30

29

28

30

34

29

Stay the same

35

35

32

36

37

34

42

39

40

40

41

45

Get worse

26

27

22

24

29

28

28

32

32

30

25

26

 

 

2011

2012

2013

Feb

June

July

Sept

Oct

Dec

Feb

Dec

Feb

March

April

May

June

July

Aug

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Improve

34

26

23

21

20

23

36

33

32

30

29

32

32

29

27

22

22

25

27

Stay the same

42

41

41

45

46

47

40

31

40

37

41

42

41

44

42

46

37

44

42

Get worse

25

33

37

34

34

29

24

36

28

33

29

25

27

27

31

32

41

32

32

 

 

2014

2015

Jan

Feb

Mar

May

June

Aug

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

Apr

June

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Improve

26

26

24

26

22

25

22

26

27

28

32

28

26

25

Stay the same

44

43

45

48

51

46

49

45

51

50

47

49

51

49

Get worse

30

32

31

27

26

29

29

29

22

23

21

23

24

27

Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding

 

TABLE 6b

 EXPECTATIONS FOR THE ECONOMY IN THE COMING YEAR

By Generation, Gender & Political Party

“In the coming year, do you expect the economy to…?”

Base: All adults

 

Total

Generation

Gender

Political Party

Millennials
(18-35)

Gen. Xers
(36-50)

Baby Boomers
(51-69)

Matures
(70+)

Male

Female

Republican

Democrat

Independent

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Improve

25

32

22

19

21

27

22

13

38

21

Stay the same

49

46

49

50

52

48

50

48

49

50

Get worse

27

22

28

31

27

25

28

39

13

29

Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding

 


TABLE 7a

EXPECTATIONS FOR HOUSEHOLD FINANCIAL CONDITION IN NEXT SIX MONTHS

“Thinking about your household’s financial condition, do you expect it to be better or worse in the next 6 months?”

Base:  All adults

 

2013

2014

Feb

Mar

April

May

June

July

Sept

Oct

Nov

Jan

Feb

Mar

May

June

July

Aug

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

BETTER (NET)

23

21

22

26

24

24

19

18

20

23

22

21

24

23

23

24

22

21

22

22

     Much better

3

3

4

5

4

5

4

3

4

4

4

4

5

4

6

6

4

3

4

4

     Somewhat better

20

17

18

20

20

19

15

15

16

18

19

17

20

19

18

18

18

18

18

19

Will remain the same

50

49

49

50

53

49

52

48

50

49

52

52

52

54

51

51

53

53

57

56

WORSE (NET)

27

30

28

24

23

26

29

34

30

29

26

27

23

23

26

25

25

26

21

21

     Somewhat worse

20

21

20

18

17

18

21

24

19

19

18

19

17

17

18

17

18

18

16

15

     Much worse

7

9

8

6

6

9

8

11

11

10

8

8

7

7

8

8

7

8

5

6

 

 

2015

Jan

Feb

Apr

June

%

%

%

%

BETTER (NET)

27

26

23

23

  Much better

6

5

5

5

Somewhat better

21

21

18

18

Will remain the same

53

55

56

55

WORSE (NET)

21

19

21

22

Somewhat worse

15

15

16

16

  Much worse

6

4

5

6

Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding

 

 

TABLE 7b

EXPECTATIONS FOR HOUSEHOLD FINANCIAL CONDITION IN NEXT SIX MONTHS

By Region, Gender & Political Party

“Thinking about your household’s financial condition, do you expect it to be better or worse in the next 6 months?”

Base: All adults

 

Total

Region

Gender

Political Party

East

Midwest

South

West

Male

Female

Republican

Democrat

Independent

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

BETTER (NET)

23

21

22

23

27

28

19

13

35

20

     Much better

5

7

5

5

5

6

4

1

10

4

     Somewhat better

18

14

17

19

22

22

15

12

25

16

Will remain the same

55

57

51

56

54

50

59

57

53

55

WORSE (NET)

22

22

27

21

19

22

22

30

12

25

     Somewhat worse

16

17

20

14

12

15

16

21

9

19

     Much worse

6

5

7

7

7

7

6

9

4

6

Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding


Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online, in English, within the United States between June 17 and 22, 2015 among 2,220 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online. 

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, The Harris Poll avoids the words “margin of error” as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Poll surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in our panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of The Harris Poll.

The Harris Poll® #37, July 1, 2015

By Larry Shannon-Missal, Managing Editor, The Harris Poll