Half of Americans Believe Their Household’s Financial Condition Will Remain the Same in the Next Six Months

    NEW YORK , N.Y. – July 31, 2013 – When it comes to the economy, the American public is given a lot of different ways to read the tea leaves with indicators of how things are going. They can try and track the ups and downs and ups of the stock market. They can look at the housing stats or the latest jobs numbers. There is GDP or the latest fed minutes. But what matters most is how people feel they themselves are doing – do they have enough money in their wallets/bank accounts to pay their bills and maybe save a little each month? And, if they do not, there is a larger question of who or what has influence over that issue.

    When it comes to their household financial condition, one-quarter of U.S. adults (24%) say they expect it to be better in the next six months, while 26% say they expect it to be worse and half (49%) say they expect it will remain the same. This is slightly off of last month’s numbers, when 53% said they expected their household’s financial condition to remain the same, 23% said they thought it would get worse and 24% thought it would be better.

    These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,242 adults surveyed online between July 17 and 22, 2013 by Harris Interactive.

    As the President’s overall job approval number drifts downward, so too does his rating on the economy. When it comes to the job that President Obama is doing on the economy, one-third of Americans (33%) give the President positive ratings, while two-thirds (67%) give him negative marks. In June, 35% gave President Obama positive marks while 65% gave him negative ones.

    Looking at the overall economy, Americans seem to be anticipating the status quo. Over two in five (44%) expect that, in the coming year, the economy will stay the same; three in ten (29%) say it will improve and 27% believe it will get worse. Last month, one-third (32%) expected the economy to improve in the coming year, 27% expected it to get worse and 41% said it will stay the same.

    Who influences how Americans are doing?

    There is always a blame game. Things aren’t going right, and it’s the fault of big business or Congress or state government. But who do Americans really think influences how they are doing financially? Almost two in five (38%) believe Congress has a great deal of influence, while more than one-third say the Federal Reserve (35%), Wall Street (34%) and the President (34%) have a great deal of influence on how they are doing financially. Around three in ten say that large corporations (31%) and state government (28%) have a great deal of influence while just two in ten (20%) say that about local governments. On the bottom end of the spectrum, over half of U.S. adults (56%) say that small businesses don’t have an influence on how they are doing, with 38% saying not much of an influence and 17% saying no influence at all.

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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

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    POSITIVE (NET)

    47

    49

    46

    43

    39

    40

    34

    36

    31

    32

    33

    36

    Excellent

    13

    13

    10

    3

    9

    7

    6

    6

    5

    5

    6

    6

    Pretty good

    34

    36

    36

    34

    31

    33

    27

    30

    25

    27

    27

    30

    NEGATIVE (NET)

    53

    51

    54

    57

    61

    60

    66

    64

    69

    68

    67

    64

    Only fair

    30

    27

    30

    27

    25

    27

    30

    30

    31

    30

    31

    29

    Poor

    23

    24

    24

    30

    36

    33

    37

    34

    39

    37

    36

    34

    2010

    2011

    June

    Aug

    Sept

    Oct

    Nov

    Dec

    Jan

    Feb

    Mar

    May

    June

    July

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    POSITIVE (NET)

    32

    32

    29

    27

    31

    30

    33

    33

    33

    32

    27

    26

    Excellent

    5

    6

    5

    5

    5

    5

    7

    9

    5

    7

    5

    3

    Pretty good

    27

    26

    24

    22

    26

    25

    26

    24

    28

    26

    22

    23

    NEGATIVE (NET)

    68

    68

    71

    73

    69

    70

    67

    62

    67

    68

    73

    74

    Only fair

    32

    29

    31

    33

    30

    34

    30

    22

    29

    28

    30

    33

    Poor

    37

    39

    40

    39

    39

    36

    37

    39

    38

    40

    43

    41

    2011

    2012

    2013

    Sept

    Oct

    Nov

    Dec

    Jan

    Feb

    Mar

    Feb

    Mar

    April

    June

    July

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    POSITIVE (NET)

    21

    23

    22

    25

    25

    32

    32

    36

    33

    39

    35

    33

    Excellent

    2

    3

    3

    4

    2

    3

    5

    4

    6

    6

    5

    5

    Pretty good

    18

    20

    20

    22

    22

    29

    27

    32

    27

    32

    31

    28

    NEGATIVE (NET)

    79

    77

    78

    75

    75

    68

    68

    64

    67

    61

    65

    67

    Only fair

    33

    36

    32

    34

    34

    30

    29

    26

    26

    26

    29

    29

    Poor

    46

    41

    46

    41

    41

    38

    39

    38

    41

    35

    36

    38

    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

    PRESIDENT OBAMA’S JOB RATING ON THE ECONOMY – By party and philosophy

    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 Philosophy

    Rep.

    Dem.

    Ind.

    Cons.

    Mod.

    Lib.

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    POSITIVE (NET)

    33

    7

    60

    25

    10

    37

    57

    Excellent

    5

    2

    10

    1

    2

    5

    10

    Pretty good

    28

    5

    49

    24

    8

    32

    46

    NEGATIVE (NET)

    67

    93

    40

    75

    90

    63

    43

    Only fair

    29

    22

    33

    33

    19

    34

    33

    Poor

    38

    71

    8

    43

    71

    29

    11

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

     

    TABLE 3

    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.

    Feb.

    March

    April

    May

    June

    July

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Improve

    34

    26

    23

    21

    20

    23

    36

    32

    30

    29

    32

    32

    29

    Stay the same

    42

    41

    41

    45

    46

    47

    40

    40

    37

    41

    42

    41

    44

    Get worse

    25

    33

    37

    34

    34

    29

    24

    28

    33

    29

    25

    27

    27

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

     

    TABLE 4

    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

    Feb.

    March

    April

    May

    June

    July

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    BETTER (NET)

    23

    21

    22

    26

    24

    24

    Much better

    3

    3

    4

    5

    4

    5

    Somewhat better

    20

    17

    18

    20

    20

    19

    Will remain the same

    50

    49

    49

    50

    53

    49

    WORSE (NET)

    27

    30

    28

    24

    23

    26

    Somewhat worse

    20

    21

    20

    18

    17

    18

    Much worse

    7

    9

    8

    6

    6

    9

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

     

    TABLE 5

    WHO INFLUENCES AMERICANS FINANCIALLY

    How much of an influence do you believe each of the following groups or individuals have over how you are doing financially?

    Base: All adults

    INFLUENCE

    (NET)

    A great deal of influence

    Some influence

    NO INFLUENCE (NET)

    Not much of an influence

    No influence at all

    Congress

    %

    78

    38

    40

    22

    14

    8

    State government

    %

    76

    28

    48

    24

    16

    8

    The Federal Reserve

    %

    75

    35

    40

    25

    16

    9

    Wall Street

    %

    74

    34

    40

    26

    16

    10

    Large corporations

    %

    71

    31

    40

    29

    19

    10

    The President

    %

    70

    34

    37

    30

    21

    9

    Local government

    %

    64

    20

    44

    36

    26

    10

    Small businesses

    %

    44

    10

    34

    56

    38

    17

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

     

    Methodology

    This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between July 17 and 22, 2013 among 2,242 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.

    J43276

    Q705, 713, 715, 721

     

    The Harris Poll® #50, July 31, 2013

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

    About Harris Interactive

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