As Government Enters Shutdown, Majorities Do Not Trust President, Republicans or Democrats to Do What is Right for Economy

Seven in ten give President Obama negative ratings for his handling of the economy

Oct 01, 2013, 13:00 ET from Harris Interactive

NEW YORK, Oct. 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- As the government starts the first day of its partial shutdown and the two sides continue to go back and forth with competing Continuing Resolutions, the American public is watching. General attitudes towards President Obama, Congress and the direction of the country are already moving downwards. Now, attitudes about the economy have also started moving that way. These opinions were given during the rhetoric leading up to the shutdown, and are unlikely to improve as it continues – but the question is, how low will they go?

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In July, just one-third of Americans (33%) gave President Obama positive ratings on his handling of the economy while 67% gave him negative marks. This month, less than three in ten (29%) give him positive ratings and 71% give the President negative ratings on the overall job he is doing handling the economy. This is the lowest it has been since January of 2012.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,577 adults surveyed online between September 18 and 24, 2013 by Harris Interactive. (Full results, including data tables, can be found here)

When it comes to who – if anyone – Americans trust to do what is right for the U.S. economy, no one gets high marks. Over half of U.S. adults (54%) say they do not trust President Obama to do what is right for the American economy, while over three in five (62%) do not trust the President's economic advisors to do so. Members of Congress fare even worse: almost two-thirds of Americans (64%) do not trust Democrats in Congress to do what is right for the American economy, and almost three-quarters (72%) do not trust Republicans in Congress.

General economic conditions

Looking ahead, Americans are not expecting much to change and only minorities are expecting things to get better. Almost half of U.S. adults (46%) say, in the coming year, that they expect the economy to stay the same, while less than one-quarter (22%) expect it to improve and one-third (32%) expect it to get worse. In August, 27% believed the economy would improve in the coming year, while 31% thought it would get worse.

It is a similar situation for household finances. Over half of Americans (52%) say they believe their household financial condition will stay the same in the next six months, while one in five (19%) believe it will get better and three in then (29%) say it will get worse. In July, one-quarter each believed it would get better (24%) and get worse (26%).

One reason why people may not be optimistic about the economy and their financial situation is that they believe things are going to be more expensive. Three-quarters of Americans (74%) say the prices for things they normally buy will increase in the next six months. One-quarter (23%) say prices will remain the same and just 3% of Americans believe they will decrease.

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This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between September 18 and 24, 2013 among 2,577 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, Harris Interactive 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 Interactive 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 the Harris Interactive 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 Harris Interactive.

Q705, 710, 713, 715, 718

The Harris Poll® #69, October 1, 2013
By Regina A. Corso, SVP, Harris Poll and Public Relations, Harris Interactive

About Harris Interactive

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