WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Gallup's Economic Confidence Index averaged -26 in July, a decline from -22 in June, and close to the 2012 low of -27 measured in January. Economic confidence improved during the first five months of the year, but July marks the second monthly decline in a row. Still, the index remains significantly higher than the -42 from July of a year ago.
Gallup's Economic Confidence Index consists of two measures -- one assessing current U.S. economic conditions and the other assessing the nation's economic outlook. Americans were more pessimistic about both current conditions and the economic outlook during July. Fourteen percent of Americans said the economy is excellent or good, while 42% considered it poor, resulting in a -28 current conditions rating. The -23 economic outlook rating reflects a five-percentage-point decline from June, with 36% of Americans saying the economy is getting better and 59% saying it is getting worse. This is the lowest economic outlook rating of 2012.
Confidence Lowest Among Republicans
Republicans' and independents' confidence declined, while Democrats' remained steady in July. Confidence among Republicans was -54, a five-point decline from June and their most negative monthly average of 2012. Independents dropped four points to -30, tied for the group's lowest monthly measurement since January. Democrats were unchanged from June at +7, up somewhat from -3 in January but still down compared with most months of 2012.
U.S. economic confidence wavered during the month of July, likely because of several factors, including another tepid jobs report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on July 6, and a mid-month report of lower-than-expected GDP growth. This, combined with little positive news on the domestic front and Europe's continuing economic troubles, likely resulted in the July decline in confidence.
Americans will need positive economic signs, such as the decline in unemployment seen earlier in the year, for the index to regain the positive momentum it had during the first part of the year. Politics may also be playing a role. For the index to significantly improve, Republicans will need to have a more optimistic outlook on the economy. However, with the ongoing presidential campaign, there may be little immediate chance of narrowing the partisan gap.
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 from July 1-31, 2012, with a random sample of 14,043 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, selected using random-digit-dial sampling.
For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±1 percentage point.
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 includes a minimum quota of 400 cell phone respondents and 600 landline respondents per 1,000 national adults, with additional minimum quotas among landline respondents by region. Landline telephone numbers are chosen at random among listed telephone numbers. Cell phone 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 by gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, adults in the household, and phone status (cell phone only/landline only/both, cell phone mostly, and having an unlisted landline number). Demographic weighting targets are based on the March 2011 Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older non-institutionalized population living in U.S. telephone households. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting and sample design.
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.