Economic Optimism Ties 3-Year High

February 8, 2011

gallup-economy-getting-better-feb-2011.JPGForty-one percent of Americans in January 2011 said the economy is “getting better,” up 17% from 35% in December 2010 and about 8% from 38% a year ago, according to results of a new Gallup Poll. This level of optimism ties for the highest since Gallup daily tracking began in January 2008.

Wealthy, Young, Democrats Most Optimistic

gallup-economy-getting-better-breakdown-feb-2011.JPGPoll results show half or more of upper-income Americans (those making at least $90,000 annually), younger Americans (those aged 18 to 29), and Democrats say economic conditions are getting better. This makes them the most optimistic among key demographic groups.

A comparison of January 2011 with January 2010 reveals that upper-income Americans (+16%) and those aged 65 years and older (+17%) have increased their optimism the most. However, only 35% of those 65 and older say the economy is getting better, making this age group the least optimistic of all demographic groups polled by Gallup.

In addition, men (+10%) show a larger increase than women (+5%) in year-over-year expectations. Democrats and young Americans have held, but not added to, their high level of optimism. There is no significant difference in economic optimism by region of the country, and no region has dramatically different results this year compared to last.

Consumer Perceptions Also Improve

gallup-economic-confidence-index-feb-2011.JPGConsumers’ perceptions of current economic conditions also improved in January 2010, with 42% of Americans rating current economic conditions “poor,” a slight improvement from 44% in December 2010 and 45% in January 2010. At -21, the Economic Confidence Index (which combines economic optimism and confidence scores) also indicates that Americans are more positive about the economy than they have been at any time during the past three years.

Harris: 4 in 10 Say US Doing Poorly

More than two in five (43%) US adults say the state of the nation it is fair while 40% say it is poor, according to results of a recent Harris Poll. Meanwhile, just 3% of US adults say the state of the country is excellent and another 14% say it is good.

About the Data: Results are based on telephone interviews conducted with 8,755 respondents, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, during January 2011 as part of Gallup Daily tracking, selected using random-digit-dial sampling.

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