PRINCETON, NJ -- President Obama and "business leaders" engender the most confidence from Americans for their ability to do or to recommend the right thing for the economy. These are the only political or economic leaders of eight rated in whom a majority of Americans have at least a fair amount of confidence on economic matters.
Though the two are tied at 54% overall confidence, Obama has an edge over business leaders because a much higher proportion of Americans say they have a great deal of confidence in him on the economy (25% vs. 11%).
The April 8-11 poll -- Gallup's annual survey on the Economy and Personal Finance -- marks the first time Gallup has asked Americans to rate their economic confidence in business leaders, labor union leaders, and Tea Party movement leaders. The last two groups, along with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, rank at the bottom of the list.
Obama still tops the list despite a sharp loss of public confidence in his recommendations for the economy over the past year. A year ago, 71% said they were confident in Obama on economic matters, including 38% who said they had a great deal of confidence in him.
Americans' confidence in most political leaders has dropped since last year, with the exception of the Republican leaders in Congress, for whom there has been a five-point increase in confidence.
Economic confidence in Obama has dropped among all three political party groups, with slightly greater drops among independents and Republicans than among Democrats.
Democrats maintain a very high level of confidence in Obama on the economy, with 87% expressing confidence in him, including 53% who have a great deal of confidence. A slim majority of independents remain confident in Obama's ability to do the right thing for the economy.
The decline since April 2009 in economic confidence in Obama parallels the drop in his job approval rating on the economy and, at a broader level, the drop in his overall approval rating over the past year.
Nevertheless, Americans express at least as much confidence in Obama on the economy as they do in any other group of political or economic leaders. That has often been the case in the 10 years Gallup has asked this question. Obama has been atop the list in both of his years as president, and George W. Bush ranked first or second (behind former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan) through most of his presidency.
Results are based on telephone interviews with 1,020 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted April 8-11, 2010. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points.
Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones (for respondents with a landline telephone) and cellular phones (for respondents who are cell phone only).
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.