WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Gallup's Economic Confidence Index held steady at -18 for the week ending March 23, with neither component of the index showing any change from the previous week.
The variability of the weekly index between March 2013 and the beginning of this year has given way to a steadiness in the past two months: the index has not strayed from the five-point range between -15 and -20 that it has resided in since mid-January. This marks a recent return to stability after the decline and subsequent recovery surrounding the federal government shutdown in October.
The Gallup Economic Confidence Index is the average of two components: Americans' views on current economic conditions in the U.S. and their perceptions of whether the economy is getting better or worse. At this point, 19% of Americans view the economy as excellent or good and 37% say poor, unchanged from the week ending March 16. Meanwhile, 39% say the economy is getting better and 56% say it is getting worse -- again, identical to the the March 16 weekly readings.
Though Americans' views are static, they remain in negative territory, where they have been since the start of Gallup Daily tracking in 2008.
Americans' stagnant confidence in the economy could reflect a post-shutdown jadedness in which political dramas of the day don't faze them, and they appear resigned to believing the economy is deficient.
But given that the virtually motionless index readings are only moderately negative compared with where the index has been, Americans could be poised to react positively to any encouraging economic news.
Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted March 17-23, 2014, on the Gallup Daily tracking survey, with a random sample of 3,529 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 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.