Economic Attitudes Down From Last Month

Just one-third of Americans believe country is going in right direction

Mar 27, 2013, 13:00 ET from Harris Interactive

NEW YORK, March 27, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Almost one month into sequester and the stock market continues to hit new highs. Does this mean the American public hears the stories about cancelled White House tours and shuttered air traffic control towers and doesn't believe anything worse will be coming? In looking at overall attitudes on some general economic indicators, U.S. adults do seem a little more negative when compared to last month. And, in looking at how the country overall is going, just one-third (34%) say the country is going in the right direction, while two-thirds (66%) believe it is heading off on the wrong track.


Looking ahead, three in ten Americans (30%) expect the economy to be better in the coming year, 37% expect it to stay the same and one-third (33%) expect it to get worse. Last month, 32% said the economy would be better, 40% said it would stay the same and 28% said it would get worse.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,276 adults surveyed online between March 13 and 18, 2013 by Harris Interactive. Full findings and data tables are available here.

Looking at household financial conditions, while about half of Americans (49%) say their financial conditions will stay the same over the next six months, one in five (21%) say it will get better and three in ten (30%) believe it will get worse. In February, just about one-quarter each thought their household's financial condition would get better (23%) and get worse (27%); half (50%) believed it would remain the same.

Politics and the Economy

Looking at President Obama and his overall handling of the economy, one-third of U.S. adults (33%) give him positive ratings while 67% give him negative ratings. Last month, 36% gave the President positive ratings on his handling of the economy while 64% gave him negative ratings. Looking at this by political party, it's not surprising that over nine in ten Republicans (93%) give President Obama negative marks on his handling of the economy, but so do seven in ten Independents (71%) and over one-third of Democrats (36%).

Most Important Issue

As the economy continues to sputter along, it's not surprising that economic concerns are four of the top five issues that Americans identify as the two most important items for the government to address, and part of the fifth as well. Over one-quarter of U.S. adults believe the general economy should be addressed (27%) and employment and the job issue (26%). Just under one-quarter (23%) identify healthcare (not Medicare), while one in five (20%) specify the budget and spending issues and 16% point to the national debt.

So What?

Yes, the stock market is at all time highs and the housing market, at least in many parts of the country, is picking up steam. But, Americans still seem to have a great deal of uncertainty about the overall economic conditions of the country. Perhaps if they see the rally has legs this time, the sense of unease will abate and Americans will begin spending and not worrying as much with regard to the economy. But looking at these numbers, that seems to be a ways off at this point, and Americans' sense of uncertainty is still there.

For more information, or to view the full findings and tables, please visit the Harris Poll News Room.


This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between March 13 to 18, 2013 among 2,276 adults (aged 18 and over). This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. A complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, can be found here.

The Harris Poll® #16, March 27, 2013

By Regina A. Corso, SVP, Harris Poll and Public Relations, Harris Interactive

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