After Going Up Last Month, Attitudes on the Economy Drift Downward

NEW YORK , N.Y. – June 25, 2014 – The Dow Jones is flirting with a new magical number, 17,000 and there has been job growth for over 50 months in a row according to the White House. But Americans are still not all that confident about the state of the American economy. Just one-third (32%) of U.S. adults give President Obama positive ratings for his handling of the economy while two-thirds (68%) give him negative ratings. Last month, over one-third (35%) gave the President positive ratings while almost two-thirds (65%) gave him negative marks on the economy.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll¨ of 2,241 adults surveyed online between June 11 and 16, 2014.

Looking at the overall economy, over one in five Americans (22%) expect the economy to improve in the coming year while half (51%) expect that it will remain the same and one-quarter (26%) expect it to get worse. In May, just over one-quarter each expected it to improve (26%) and get worse (27%) while almost half (48%) said it would remain the same. Taking it a little closer to home, almost one-quarter of Americans expect, in the next six months, that their household’s financial condition will be better (23%) and be worse (23%) while over half (54%) say it will remain the same. This is almost unchanged from last month when one-quarter (24%) said their household’s financial condition would get better, less than one-quarter (23%) said it would get worse and about half (52%) said it would remain the same.

Generational differences

When it comes to economic conditions and attitudes, the stage of life one is in can have an impact on how one thinks about the economy. First, looking at how President Obama is handling the economy, Baby Boomers are his biggest fans as almost two in five (37%) give him positive ratings, followed by one-third (32%) of Matures, with less than three in ten Millennials (28%) and Gen Xers (29%) saying the same.

When it comes to the overall economy and their household’s financial condition, there is a difference in how the generations perceive each. For the overall economy, Baby Boomers and Matures are more likely than Millennials and Gen Xers to say they expect the economy to improve (24% and 27% vs. 21% and 18%). But, when it comes to their household’s financial condition, Millennials and Gen Xers are more likely than Baby Boomers and Matures to say that it will get better (29% and 24% vs. 21% and 13%).

Political Parties

It’s probably not surprising that Republicans are more likely than Democrats to give President Obama negative marks on his handling of the economy (91% vs. 41%), to say the economy is going to get worse in the coming year (47% vs. 8%) and to say their household’s financial condition will get worse in the next six months (34% vs. 12%). And, it’s not surprising that Democrats are more likely than Republicans to give President Obama positive ratings for his handling of the economy (59% vs. 9%), to say the economy is going to be better in the coming year (38% vs. 8%) and to say their household’s financial condition will be better in the next six months (35% vs. 12%).

But how do Independents view the economy? Almost one-quarter of Independents (23%) give President Obama positive marks for his handling of the economy while over three-quarters (77%) give him negative marks. Looking at the overall economy, less than one in five Independents (18%) say it will get better in the upcoming year, three in ten (29%) say it will get worse and over half (53%) believe it will stay the same. And, for their household’s financial condition, one in five Independents (20%) say it will be better in the next six months over half (54%) believe it will remain the same and one-quarter (26%) say it will be worse.

To see other recent Harris Polls, please visit the Harris Poll News Room.

Want Harris Polls delivered direct to your inbox? Click here!

 

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

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

June

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

POSITIVE (NET)

36

33

39

35

33

29

30

30

29

28

31

31

32

35

32

Excellent

4

6

6

5

5

4

5

6

4

5

4

5

5

5

7

Pretty good

32

27

32

31

28

28

25

24

25

23

27

26

27

29

25

NEGATIVE (NET)

64

67

61

65

67

71

70

70

71

72

69

69

68

65

68

Only fair

26

26

26

29

29

31

28

29

30

30

29

27

29

26

28

Poor

38

41

35

36

38

40

42

41

41

42

40

42

39

39

40

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 Political Party and Generation

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

Generation

Rep.

Dem.

Ind.

Millennials (18-36)

Gen X (37-48)

Baby Boomers (49-67)

Matures (68+)

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

POSITIVE

32

9

59

23

28

29

37

32

Excellent

7

3

12

5

6

8

8

6

Pretty good

25

6

47

18

22

22

29

26

NEGATIVE

68

91

41

77

72

71

63

68

Only fair

28

18

31

31

38

30

20

22

Poor

40

74

10

47

34

41

43

46

Note: Percentages may not add up 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 toÉ?

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

Feb

Mar

May

June

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Improve

32

29

27

22

22

25

27

26

26

24

26

22

Stay the same

41

44

42

46

37

44

42

44

43

45

48

51

Get worse

27

27

31

32

41

32

32

30

32

31

27

26

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


TABLE 4

EXPECTATIONS FOR THE ECONOMY IN THE COMING YEAR – By Political Party and Generation

In the coming year, do you expect the economy toÉ?

Base: All adults

 

Total

Political Party

Generation

Rep.

Dem.

Ind.

Millennials (18-36)

Gen X (37-48)

Baby Boomers (49-67)

Matures (68+)

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Improve

22

8

38

18

21

18

24

27

Stay the Same

51

45

55

53

58

56

47

38

Worsen

26

47

8

29

21

26

28

36

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

 

TABLE 5

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

Feb

Mar

May

June

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

BETTER (NET)

23

21

22

26

24

24

19

18

20

23

22

21

24

23

Much better

3

3

4

5

4

5

4

3

4

4

4

4

5

4

Somewhat better

20

17

18

20

20

19

15

15

16

18

19

17

20

19

Will remain the same

50

49

49

50

53

49

52

48

50

49

52

52

52

54

WORSE (NET)

27

30

28

24

23

26

29

34

30

29

26

27

23

23

Somewhat worse

20

21

20

18

17

18

21

24

19

19

18

19

17

17

Much worse

7

9

8

6

6

9

8

11

11

10

8

8

7

7

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


TABLE 6

EXPECTATIONS FOR HOUSEHOLD FINANCIAL CONDITION IN NEXT SIX MONTHS – By Political Party and Generation

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

Political Party

Generation

Rep.

Dem.

Ind.

Millennials (18-36)

Gen X (37-48)

Baby Boomers (49-67)

Matures (68+)

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

BETTER (NET)

23

12

35

20

29

24

21

13

Much better

4

3

5

4

4

7

3

2

Somewhat better

19

10

30

16

25

17

18

10

Will remain the same

54

53

53

54

51

55

54

57

WORSE (NET)

23

34

12

26

20

21

25

31

Somewhat worse

17

23

10

19

13

14

18

25

Much worse

7

11

3

7

7

6

7

6

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

 

Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between June 11 and 16, 2014 among 2,241 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¨ #61, June 25, 2014

By Regina A. Corso, VP, The Harris Poll and Public Relations Research

About Nielsen & The Harris Poll

On February 3, 2014, Nielsen acquired Harris Interactive and The Harris Poll. Nielsen Holdings N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) is a global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence and mobile measurement. Nielsen has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA and Diemen, the Netherlands. For more information, visit www.nielsen.com.