WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Gallup's Economic Confidence Index was -16 for the month of February, the same as in January. February marked the end of consecutive monthly increases in economic confidence after a dramatic drop amid the federal government shutdown in October.
Confidence fell to -35 during the government shutdown in October 2013, the lowest level since 2011. The index's recovery now puts it within nine points of the monthly high of -7 since 2008, when Gallup began tracking economic confidence daily.
The February results are based on Gallup Daily tracking interviews conducted throughout the month by landline and cellular phone with more than 13,000 U.S. adults.
The Gallup Economic Confidence Index is the average of two components: Americans' views on the current economic situation and their perceptions of whether the economy is getting better or worse. The current conditions component of the index averaged -18 in February, based on 18% of Americans rating the economy as excellent or good versus 36% rating it as poor. The outlook component's average was -15 in February, with 40% of Americans saying the economy is getting better and 55% saying it is getting worse.
The economic outlook measure decreased marginally to -15 from January, but the current conditions index was flat.
The end of consecutive monthly climbs in Gallup's Economic Confidence Index is not an auspicious sign, particularly as Americans remain more negative than positive about the economy overall. After the government shutdown wreaked havoc on Americans' confidence in both the government and the economy in October, a parade of monthly improvements offered some hope that economic confidence might finally escape negative territory. But the readings have plateaued at the pre-shutdown level -- in other words, they are back to "normal."
However, if 2014 is anything like 2013, good things could be in store as the seasons change. Last spring and summer saw some of the highest economic confidence index readings Gallup has recorded since it began tracking these measures in 2008. And with contentious gridlock on fiscal matters temporarily out of the way for the president and Congress, political sideshows should be less of a threat to economic confidence in the near future, giving confidence a fighting chance of reaching positive territory.
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:
Read more about Gallup's economic measures.
View our economic release schedule.
Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Feb. 1-28, 2014, on the Gallup Daily tracking survey, with a random sample of 13,156 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 ±1 percentage point 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 time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone 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, and cellphone mostly). 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.