Attitudes on the Economy Holding Steady over Time – but These Attitudes are Not Positive

NEW YORK , N.Y. – January 30, 2014 – Economic news is plentiful, and depending on who one listens to the economy is getting better, the economy may be sliding backwards or things are stagnant. But, regardless of what the experts think, how do Americans think the economy is going this month? On the whole, their thinking is that it’s pretty flat. Looking first at how Americans think President Obama is handling the economy, just under three in ten (28%) give him positive marks for his handling of the economy while 72% give him negative ratings. This is similar to last month when 29% gave him positive marks and 71% gave him negative ones.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,236 adults surveyed online between January 15 and 20, 2014 by Harris Interactive.

When it comes to the economy as a whole, attitudes are again very similar to last month. One-quarter of U.S. adults (26%) believe the economy will improve in the coming year, while 44% say it will stay the same and 30% say it will get worse. Last month, 27% believed the economy would improve, 42% said it would stay the same and 32% believed it would get worse.

Looking at individual households, half of Americans (49%) believe their household’s financial condition will stay the same over the next six months, while 23% say it will get better and 29% believe it will be worse. Last November, as many Americans were getting started on their holiday spending, again half (50%) said it would stay the same, three in ten (30%) said their household finances would get worse and 20% believed they would be better in the next six months.

Looking at jobs

The mantra of this recovery is that the job market is lagging behind all other indicators. Americans do tend to be more pessimistic about jobs than about the general economy. Almost half of U.S. adults (48%) say the current job market in their region of the country is bad, one in five (21%) say it is good, and three in ten (31%) say it is neither good nor bad. This is almost unchanged from October, when 20% said it was good, 48% said it was bad and 32% of U.S. adults said the job market in their region was neither good nor bad. Looking at job markets by region, the South seems to be more optimistic than the East or Midwest about how theirs is. Almost three in ten Southerners (28%) say the job market in their region is good, compared to 16% of Midwesterners and 17% of Easterners who say the same.

Looking ahead, one-quarter of Americans (24%) say the job market in their region over the next six months will be better and 23% say that it will be worse; over half (53%) believe it remain the same. This is up a little from October when over one-quarter of U.S. adults (27%) said the job market in their region would be worse and one in five (20%) thought it would improve over the next six months.

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TABLE 1

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

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

POSITIVE (NET)

47

49

46

43

39

40

34

36

31

32

33

36

32

32

29

Excellent

13

13

10

3

9

7

6

6

5

5

6

6

5

6

5

Pretty good

34

36

36

34

31

33

27

30

25

27

27

30

27

26

24

NEGATIVE (NET)

53

51

54

57

61

60

66

64

69

68

67

64

68

68

71

Only fair

30

27

30

27

25

27

30

30

31

30

31

29

32

29

31

Poor

23

24

24

30

36

33

37

34

39

37

36

34

37

39

40

2010

2011

2012

Oct

Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

May

June

July

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

POSITIVE (NET)

27

31

30

33

33

33

32

27

26

21

23

22

25

25

32

32

Excellent

5

5

5

7

9

5

7

5

3

2

3

3

4

2

3

5

Pretty good

22

26

25

26

24

28

26

22

23

18

20

20

22

22

29

27

NEGATIVE (NET)

73

69

70

67

62

67

68

73

74

79

77

78

75

75

68

68

Only fair

33

30

34

30

22

29

28

30

33

33

36

32

34

34

30

29

Poor

39

39

36

37

39

38

40

43

41

46

41

46

41

41

38

39

2013

2014

Feb

Mar

April

June

July

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

Jan

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

POSITIVE (NET)

36

33

39

35

33

29

30

30

29

28

Excellent

4

6

6

5

5

4

5

6

4

5

Pretty good

32

27

32

31

28

28

25

24

25

23

NEGATIVE (NET)

64

67

61

65

67

71

70

70

71

72

Only fair

26

26

26

29

29

31

28

29

30

30

Poor

38

41

35

36

38

40

42

41

41

42

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 2

EXPECTATIONS FOR THE ECONOMY IN THE COMING YEAR – TREND

In the coming year, do you expect the economy toâ€_?

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

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Improve

34

26

23

21

20

23

36

33

32

30

29

32

Stay the same

42

41

41

45

46

47

40

31

40

37

41

42

Get worse

25

33

37

34

34

29

24

36

28

33

29

25

2013

2014

June

July

Aug.

Sept.

Oct.

Nov.

Dec

Jan

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Improve

32

29

27

22

22

25

27

26

Stay the same

41

44

42

46

37

44

42

44

Get worse

27

27

31

32

41

32

32

30

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

 

TABLE 3

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.

March

April

May

June

July

Sept

Oct

Nov

Jan

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

BETTER (NET)

23

21

22

26

24

24

19

18

20

23

Much better

3

3

4

5

4

5

4

3

4

4

Somewhat better

20

17

18

20

20

19

15

15

16

18

Will remain the same

50

49

49

50

53

49

52

48

50

49

WORSE (NET)

27

30

28

24

23

26

29

34

30

29

Somewhat worse

20

21

20

18

17

18

21

24

19

19

Much worse

7

9

8

6

6

9

8

11

11

10

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


TABLE 4

RATING OF CURRENT JOB MARKET IN YOUR REGION – TREND

How would you rate the current job market of your region of the nation?

Base: All adults

2008

2009

2010

June

July

Jan

April

June

Aug

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

Jan

Mar.

April

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

GOOD (NET)

28

30

6

12

9

8

10

10

8

9

10

8

10

Neither good nor bad

18

19

18

20

19

21

22

20

18

19

20

18

21

BAD (NET)

53

51

76

68

72

71

68

70

73

72

70

73

70

2010

2011

May

June

Aug

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

May

July

Sept

Oct

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

GOOD (NET)

12

10

12

10

13

11

13

13

15

13

16

12

11

9

Neither good nor bad

20

25

22

21

21

23

24

22

24

22

23

24

22

24

BAD (NET)

68

66

66

69

66

66

63

65

61

65

61

64

67

67

2012

2013

2014

Jan

March

Feb

Aug

Oct

Jan

%

%

%

%

%

%

GOOD (NET)

14

20

21

23

20

21

Neither good nor bad

21

24

31

31

32

31

BAD (NET)

65

56

48

46

48

48

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

 

TABLE 5

RATING OF CURRENT JOB MARKET IN YOUR REGION – BY REGION

How would you rate the current job market of your region of the nation?

Base: All adults

Total

Region

East

Midwest

South

West

%

%

%

%

%

GOOD (NET)

21

17

16

28

21

Very good

2

1

1

4

2

Somewhat good

19

16

14

24

19

Neither good nor bad

31

27

32

27

37

BAD (NET)

48

56

52

45

42

Somewhat bad

32

37

35

28

30

Very bad

16

19

17

17

12

Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding; indicates less than .05%

 

TABLE 6

EXPECTATIONS FOR JOB MARKET IN YOUR REGION OVER NEXT SIX MONTHS – TREND

How do you think that the job market in your region of the nation will change over the next 6 months?

Base: All adults

2009

2010

Jan

April

June

Aug

June

Aug

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

BETTER (NET)

15

23

21

28

26

23

21

23

30

25

Will be much better

1

3

2

2

1

2

2

3

2

2

Will be somewhat better

14

20

19

26

25

21

19

20

28

23

Will remain the same

36

42

47

47

53

49

53

53

50

54

WORSE (NET)

49

36

32

25

21

27

26

24

21

22

Will be somewhat worse

36

29

24

19

15

22

20

18

15

16

Will be much worse

14

7

8

6

6

5

6

6

6

6

2011

2012

2013

2014

Jan

Feb

Mar

May

July

Jan

March

Feb

Aug

Oct

Jan

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

BETTER (NET)

31

31

32

30

22

27

33

28

25

20

24

Will be much better

4

4

2

4

2

2

3

2

3

1

2

Will be somewhat better

26

27

30

26

20

25

30

26

22

19

21

Will remain the same

51

51

52

49

53

53

50

52

52

53

53

WORSE (NET)

18

18

16

21

25

21

17

19

24

27

23

Will be somewhat worse

13

13

11

14

17

14

11

15

17

19

16

Will be much worse

6

5

6

7

8

7

6

5

7

8

7

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

 

Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between January 15 and 20, 2014 among 2,236 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, Harris Interactive 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 Interactive 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 the Harris Interactive 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 Harris Interactive.

J44474

Q705, 710, 715, 720, 725

The Harris Poll® #13, January 30, 2014

By Regina A. Corso, SVP, Harris Poll and Public Relations, Harris Interactive

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