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After Going Up Last Month, Attitudes on the Economy Drift Downward

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SOURCE The Harris Poll

Generations have different attitudes on how the economy and their household's financial condition will be

NEW YORK, June 25, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The Dow Jones is flirting with a new magical number, 17,000 and there has been job growth for over 50 months in a row according to the White House. But Americans are still not all that confident about the state of the American economy. Just one-third (32%) of U.S. adults give President Obama positive ratings for his handling of the economy while two-thirds (68%) give him negative ratings. Last month, over one-third (35%) gave the President positive ratings while almost two-thirds (65%) gave him negative marks on the economy.

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These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,241 adults surveyed online between June 11 and 16, 2014. (Full results, including data tables, available here)

Looking at the overall economy, over one in five Americans (22%) expect the economy to improve in the coming year while half (51%) expect that it will remain the same and one-quarter (26%) expect it to get worse. In May, just over one-quarter each expected it to improve (26%) and get worse (27%) while almost half (48%) said it would remain the same. Taking it a little closer to home, almost one-quarter of Americans expect, in the next six months, that their household's financial condition will be better (23%) and be worse (23%) while over half (54%) say it will remain the same. This is almost unchanged from last month when one-quarter (24%) said their household's financial condition would get better, less than one-quarter (23%) said it would get worse and about half (52%) said it would remain the same.

Generational differences

When it comes to economic conditions and attitudes, the stage of life one is in can have an impact on how one thinks about the economy. First, looking at how President Obama is handling the economy, Baby Boomers are his biggest "fans" as almost two in five (37%) give him positive ratings, followed by one-third (32%) of Matures, with less than three in ten Millennials (28%) and Gen Xers (29%) saying the same.

When it comes to the overall economy and their household's financial condition, there is a difference in how the generations perceive each. For the overall economy, Baby Boomers and Matures are more likely than Millennials and Gen Xers to say they expect the economy to improve (24% and 27% vs. 21% and 18%). But, when it comes to their household's financial condition, Millennials and Gen Xers are more likely than Baby Boomers and Matures to say that it will get better (29% and 24% vs. 21% and 13%).

Political Parties

It's probably not surprising that Republicans are more likely than Democrats to give President Obama negative marks on his handling of the economy (91% vs. 41%), to say the economy is going to get worse in the coming year (47% vs. 8%) and to say their household's financial condition will get worse in the next six months (34% vs. 12%). And, it's not surprising that Democrats are more likely than Republicans to give President Obama positive ratings for his handling of the economy (59% vs. 9%), to say the economy is going to be better in the coming year (38% vs. 8%) and to say their household's financial condition will be better in the next six months (35% vs. 12%).

But how do Independents view the economy? Almost one-quarter of Independents (23%) give President Obama positive marks for his handling of the economy while over three-quarters (77%) give him negative marks. Looking at the overall economy, less than one in five Independents (18%) say it will get better in the upcoming year, three in ten (29%) say it will get worse and over half (53%) believe it will stay the same. And, for their household's financial condition, one in five Independents (20%) say it will be better in the next six months, over half (54%) believe it will remain the same and one-quarter (26%) say it will be worse.

To see other recent Harris Polls, please visit the Harris Poll News Room.

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Methodology
This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between June 11 and 16, 2014 among 2,241 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, The Harris Poll avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Poll surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in our panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of The Harris Poll.

The Harris Poll® #61, June 25, 2014 
By Regina A. Corso, VP, The Harris Poll and Public Relations Research

About Nielsen & The Harris Poll 
On February 3, 2014, Nielsen acquired Harris Interactive and The Harris Poll.  Nielsen Holdings N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) is a global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence and mobile measurement. Nielsen has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA and Diemen, the Netherlands. For more information, visit www.nielsen.com.

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