Half of Americans Believe Their Household's Financial Condition Will Remain the Same in the Next Six Months

Two-thirds give President Obama negative ratings on his handling of the economy

Jul 31, 2013, 05:00 ET from Harris Interactive

NEW YORK, July 31, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- When it comes to the economy, the American public is given a lot of different ways to "read" the tea leaves with indicators of how things are going. They can try and track the ups and downs and ups of the stock market. They can look at the housing stats or the latest jobs numbers. There is GDP or the latest "fed minutes." But what matters most is how people feel they themselves are doing – do they have enough money in their wallets/bank accounts to pay their bills and maybe save a little each month? And, if they do not, there is a larger question of who or what has influence over that issue.

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When it comes to their household financial condition, one-quarter of U.S. adults (24%) say they expect it to be better in the next six months, while 26% say they expect it to be worse and half (49%) say they expect it will remain the same. This is slightly off of last month's numbers, when 53% said they expected their household's financial condition to remain the same, 23% said they thought it would get worse and 24% thought it would be better.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,242 adults surveyed online between July 17 and 22, 2013 by Harris Interactive. (Full findings, including data tables, available here)

As the President's overall job approval number drifts downward, so too does his rating on the economy. When it comes to the job that President Obama is doing on the economy, one-third of Americans (33%) give the President positive ratings, while two-thirds (67%) give him negative marks. In June, 35% gave President Obama positive marks while 65% gave him negative ones.

Looking at the overall economy, Americans seem to be anticipating the status quo. Over two in five (44%) expect that, in the coming year, the economy will stay the same; three in ten (29%) say it will improve and 27% believe it will get worse. Last month, one-third (32%) expected the economy to improve in the coming year, 27% expected it to get worse and 41% said it will stay the same.

Who influences how Americans are doing?

There is always a blame game. Things aren't going right, and it's the fault of big business or Congress or state government. But who do Americans really think influences how they are doing financially? Almost two in five (38%) believe Congress has a great deal of influence, while more than one-third say the Federal Reserve (35%), Wall Street (34%) and the President (34%) have a great deal of influence on how they are doing financially. Around three in ten say that large corporations (31%) and state government (28%) have a great deal of influence while just two in ten (20%) say that about local governments. On the bottom end of the spectrum, over half of U.S. adults (56%) say that small businesses don't have an influence on how they are doing, with 38% saying not much of an influence and 17% saying no influence at all.

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This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between July 17 and 22, 2013 among 2,242 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, 713, 715, 721

The Harris Poll® #50, July 31, 2013
By Regina A. Corso, SVP, Harris Poll and Public Relations, Harris Interactive

About Harris Interactive
Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll® and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers proprietary solutions in the areas of market and customer insight, corporate brand and reputation strategy, and marketing, advertising, public relations and communications research. Harris possesses expertise in a wide range of industries including health care, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Additionally, Harris has a portfolio of multi-client offerings that complement our custom solutions while maximizing our client's research investment. Serving clients in more than 196 countries and territories through our North American and European offices, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

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SOURCE Harris Interactive