Americans' ratings of current conditions and the economic outlook improve
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index improved to -13 for the week ending Jan. 20, from -18 the week prior. Americans' confidence in the economy has improved for three weeks in a row after deteriorating during fiscal cliff negotiations.
The current -13 economic confidence rating is just three points off the post-2008 high Gallup measured in late October/early November.
Gallup's Economic Confidence Index is based on Americans' assessments of current economic conditions and their perceptions of whether the economy is getting better or worse. It has a theoretical minimum of -100 and a theoretical maximum of +100. The index has never been positive since Gallup began tracking it daily in 2008.
Americans' higher level of economic confidence overall comes from their improving perceptions of both index components. The -7 economic outlook rating recorded last week, based on 44% of Americans saying the economy is getting better and 51% saying it is getting worse, is up from -12 the week prior.
Eighteen percent of Americans now say the economy is excellent or good and 36% say it is poor, for a -18 current conditions rating -- up from -23 the previous week.
Americans' confidence in the economy is rebounding after taking a hit in late December as lawmakers argued over how to resolve the fiscal cliff. Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index is now nearly as high as it was around the election, which is the best it has been during Gallup's five-year history of tracking confidence daily.
Americans' improving economic confidence comes at the same time that Gallup finds Americans more optimistic about the job market and less likely to see the economy and unemployment as the most important problems facing the country. The U.S. stock market also performed well last week, perhaps contributing in part to the rise in economic confidence.
Financial crises in Washington have proven to significantly affect Americans' confidence in the economy; thus, even though the fiscal cliff is in the past, future spending debates could shake Americans' still-fragile confidence in the nation's economy.
Gallup.com reports results from these indexes in daily, weekly, and monthly averages and in Gallup.com stories. Complete trend data are always available to view and export in the following charts:
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Results are based on telephone interviews conducted as part of Gallup Daily tracking Jan. 14-20, 2012, with a random sample of 3,566 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±2 percentage points.
Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones and cellular phones, with interviews conducted in Spanish for respondents who are primarily Spanish-speaking. Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 50% cell phone respondents and 50% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by region. Landline telephone numbers are chosen at random among listed telephone numbers. Cell phones numbers are selected using random digit dial methods. Landline respondents are chosen at random within each household on the basis of which member had the most recent birthday.
Samples are weighted to correct for unequal selection probability, nonresponse, and double coverage of landline and cell users in the two sampling frames. They are also weighted to match the national demographics of gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, population density, and phone status (cellphone only/landline only/both, cellphone mostly, and having an unlisted landline number). Demographic weighting targets are based on the March 2012 Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older U.S. population. Phone status targets are based on the July-December 2011 National Health Interview Survey. Population density targets are based on the 2010 census. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting.
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.
For more details on Gallup's polling methodology, visit www.gallup.com.