Americans’ optimism about the US economy receded from a three-year high reached in January 2011 during February 2011, according to the latest Gallup Economic Index data. In February 2011, the Index worsened from -21 to -24.
4 in 10 Rate US Economy Poor
Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index is based on two questions. One measures consumers’ perceptions of current economic conditions and shows them to be the same in February as in January, with 42% of Americans rating current economic conditions “poor.”
Americans More Pessimistic on Economic Outlook
The second Index component asks Americans to rate the outlook for the US economy. In February, 38% said economic conditions are “getting better,” down about 7% from 41% a month earlier. However, this decline follows a January optimism level that tied for the highest since Gallup Daily tracking began in January 2008.
Young, Democrats Most Optimistic
More than half of Americans aged 18 to 29 and of Democrats say economic conditions are getting better. This makes them the most optimistic among key demographic groups. Young Americans and Democrats were also at the high end of the economic optimism spectrum in January.
At the other end of the spectrum are Republicans, with 27% saying things are getting better, and older Americans, with 33% of those 55 to 64 and 30% of those 65 or older saying this. The largest drops in optimism in February were among those 65 or older, and among upper-income Americans (who were among the most optimistic in January) and those aged 50 to 64. Only younger Americans saw no drop in optimism between January and February.
Recent Harris Data Duplicates Gallup Findings
Echo Boomers (age 18-34) and registered Democrats were most likely to say they felt financially secure in January 2011 compared to January 2010, according to results of a recent Harris Poll. While only 23% of US adults overall reported feeling more financially secure than one year earlier, that figure rose to 33% among Echo Boomers and 37% among Democrats.
In contrast, only 11% of Republicans and 18% of Generation X (age 35-46) said they were feeling more financially secure than one year earlier. While 38% of US adults felt less financially secure, this figure was 56% among Republicans and 47% among Matures (66 and older).
About the Data: Results are based on telephone interviews conducted with 13,349 respondents as part of Gallup Daily tracking during the month of February 2011, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 US states and the District of Columbia, selected using random-digit-dial sampling.