WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index held steady last week at -17, similar to the -16 of the week before. Confidence gradually rose at the end of last year, reaching -13 in the first week of 2014, but has dropped recently -- with the three-day rolling average for the index falling 10 points at the end of last week.
Confidence Dropped at the End of the Week After Stock Prices Fell
Despite the overall stability in the index last week, the more negative three-day rolling averages toward the end of the week likely reflected the 318-point drop in the Dow on Jan. 24. Before the drop, in Jan. 20-22 polling, Americans were more positive, with the index at -13, as it had been for several days. However, in Jan. 24-26 polling, the index fell to -23. Gallup's three-day rolling average hasn't been this low since mid-December.
The Gallup Economic Confidence Index is the average of two components: Americans' views on the current economic situation and their economic outlook. In polling for the entire week, which ended Jan. 26, 38% of Americans thought current economic conditions were "poor" and 19% thought they were "excellent" or "good," for a net current conditions index of -19. Fifty-five percent of Americans viewed the economy as "getting worse," compared with 40% who said it is "getting better," resulting in a net economic outlook score of -15.
Americans' confidence in the economy was relatively stable overall last week. However, this stability hides the decline in Americans' optimism late in the week, coincident with a major drop in the stock market. President Barack Obama presents his State of the Union address to the nation on Tuesday, with the economy promising to be a major focus. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve is also meeting this week -- its last meeting with outgoing Chairman Ben Bernanke. As always, announcements from that meeting or from the president could have an impact on stock prices. And if the stock market continues its precipitous drop, Americans' confidence could continue to tumble as well.
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 for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted January 20-26, 2014, on the Gallup Daily tracking survey, with a random sample of 3,553 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, the margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.
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% cellphone respondents and 50% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by region. Landline telephone numbers are chosen at random among listed telephone numbers. Cellphone 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 most recent Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older U.S. population. Phone status targets are based on the most recent National Health Interview Survey. Population density targets are based on the most recent U.S. 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.