Modest Uptick in Economic Expectations

President Obama's ratings on economy still overwhelmingly negative but slightly better than in previous surveys this year

Jun 01, 2010, 09:38 ET from Harris Interactive

NEW YORK, June 1 /PRNewswire/ -- The latest Harris Poll finds modest improvements in public expectations for the economy and perceptions of the job market compared to similar surveys conducted between January and April.  It also shows a modest improvement in President Obama's rating on the economy – but it is still overwhelmingly negative.  A large number of people still expect to cut spending and save more money.  There are green shoots, but they are small ones.

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These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,503 adults surveyed online between May 10 and 17, 2010 by Harris Interactive.

The most interesting findings of this new Harris Poll are:

  • President Obama's ratings on the economy are still very low – 36% positive and 64% negative – but these are his best numbers this year and this is the third month in a row to show a small improvement.  In January, his numbers were 31% positive, 69% negative.
  • A quarter (25%) of the public expects their household's financial condition will improve in the next six months, and 28% think it will get worse.  This, also, is a slight improvement from April's numbers, when only 22% thought their situation would get better.
  • The great majority (68%) of the public continues to view the job market in their regions as "bad," but this is down slightly from 73% in March and 70% in April.
  • Attitudes toward the job market are particularly bad in the West (75% bad) and the Midwest (73% bad) but somewhat better in the East (61% bad) and the South (63% bad).
  • On a broad range of measures of economic activity, the numbers have changed very little, with no overall trend.  Most people continue to say that they expect to reduce their spending on restaurants (64%) and entertainment (62%) and just over half (52%) expect to save or invest more.

So What?

This Harris Poll raises more questions than it answers.  Are these modest improvements in the public's negative economic feelings the beginning of a trend or just a short term blip?

If we are seeing real green shoots and this is the beginning of a trend, how fast will the shoots grow? And if they grow, will they grow enough to reduce the anti-incumbent mood before the November elections?

TABLE 1

PRESIDENT OBAMA'S JOB RATING ON THE ECONOMY - TREND

"Now, turning to something different, how would you rate the overall job that President Barack Obama is doing on the economy?"

Base: All adults


2009

2010


March

April

May

June

Aug

Sept

Nov

Dec

Jan

March

April

May


%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

POSITIVE (NET)

47

49

46

43

39

40

34

36

31

32

33

36

     Excellent

13

13

10

3

9

7

6

6

5

5

6

6

     Pretty good

34

36

36

34

31

33

27

30

25

27

27

30

NEGATIVE (NET)

53

51

54

57

61

60

66

64

69

68

67

64

     Only fair

30

27

30

27

25

27

30

30

31

30

31

29

     Poor

23

24

24

30

36

33

37

34

39

37

36

34

Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding.



TABLE 2

ECONOMIC EXPECTATIONS FOR THE COMING YEAR - TREND

"In the coming year, do you expect the economy to…?"

Base: All adults


2009

2010


April

May

Aug

Sept

Oct

May


%

%

%

%

%

%


Improve

39

38

46

40

34

38


Stay the same

35

35

32

36

37

34


Get worse

26

27

22

24

29

28


Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding; NA = Not asked in that month.



TABLE 3

ECONOMIC EXPECTATIONS FOR THE NEXT 6 MONTHS - TREND

"Thinking about your household's financial condition, do you expect it to be better or worse in the next 6 months?"


Base: All adults


2008

2009


Feb

Mar

June

Nov

Jan

Mar

April

May

June

Aug

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec


%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

BETTER (NET)

39

33

40

24

20

20

23

25

21

24

23

23

18

19

Will remain the same

28

28

25

43

48

46

46

45

45

48

48

45

47

48

WORSE (NET)

34

39

36

33

32

35

31

30

33

28

29

31

35

33






2010


Jan

Mar

April

May


%

%

%

%


BETTER (NET)

21

21

22

25


Will remain the same

49

47

50

47


WORSE (NET)

30

32

29

28


Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding.



TABLE 4

RATING OF CURRENT JOB MARKET - TREND

"How would you rate the current job market of your region of the nation?"

Base:  All adults


2008

2009

June

July

Jan

April

June

Aug

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

GOOD (NET)

28

30

6

12

9

8

10

10

8

9

Neither good nor bad

18

19

18

20

19

21

22

20

18

19

BAD (NET)

53

51

76

68

72

71

68

70

73

72






2010


Jan

Mar

April

May


%

%

%

%


GOOD (NET)

10

8

10

12


Neither good nor bad

20

18

21

20


BAD (NET)

70

73

70

68


Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding



TABLE 5

RATING OF CURRENT JOB MARKET IN YOUR REGION – BY REGION

"How would you rate the current job market of your region of the nation?"

Base:  All adults


Total

Region


East

Midwest

South

West


%

%

%

%

%


GOOD (NET)

12

13

8

18

6


 Very good

1

3

1

1

1


 Somewhat good

11

10

8

17

5


Neither good nor bad

20

26

18

19

18


BAD (NET)

68

61

73

63

75


 Somewhat bad

38

35

37

37

42


 Very bad

30

26

36

26

34


Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding



TABLE 6

SPENDING/SAVINGS OVER NEXT SIX MONTHS

"How likely will you be to do the following within the next 6 months?"


Base:  All adults



LIKELY (NET)

Very

likely

Somewhat

Likely

NOT LIKELY (NET)

Not that likely

Not at all likely

Decrease spending on eating out at restaurants

%

64

30

34

36

22

14

Reduce spending on entertainment

%

62

26

36

38

24

15

Save or invest more money

%

52

18

34

48

20

28

Take a vacation away from home lasting longer than a week

%

36

17

19

64

19

45

Have more money to spend the way you want

%

27

6

21

73

29

44

Buy a new computer

%

20

7

14

80

19

60

Move to a different residence

%

19

8

11

81

11

70

Buy or lease a newly manufactured car, truck or van

%

12

4

8

88

11

76

Purchase a house or condo

%

7

3

5

93

7

85

Start a new business

%

6

2

4

94

9

85

Buy a boat or recreational vehicle (e.g. trailer, motor home)

%

3

1

2

97

5

91

Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding



TABLE 7

SPENDING/SAVINGS OVER NEXT SIX MONTHS - TREND

"How likely will you be to do the following within the next 6 months?"

Percent saying "Very/Somewhat Likely"

Base:  All adults     



Nov. 2008

March

2009

May

2009

Sept.

2009

Dec.

2009

May

2010

Decrease spending on eating out at restaurants

%

65

74

66

67

62

64

Reduce spending on entertainment

%

64

74

64

67

58

62

Save or invest more money

%

49

50

53

50

53

52

Take a vacation away from home lasting longer than a week

%

29

35

36

28

35

36

Have more money to spend the way you want

%

25

21

26

25

27

27

Buy a new computer

%

22

22

21

19

23

20

Move to a different residence

%

18

20

19

14

17

19

Buy or lease a newly manufactured car, truck or van

%

12

11

12

10

12

12

Purchase a house or condo

%

10

10

9

8

8

7

Start a new business

%

9

10

8

7

7

6

Buy a boat or recreational vehicle (e.g. trailer, motor home)

%

5

5

5

4

4

3

Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding



Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between May 10 and 17, 2010 among 2,503 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.

J38300

Q705, 708, 710, 715, 720

The Harris Poll® #72, June 1, 2010

By Humphrey Taylor, Chairman, The Harris Poll, Harris Interactive

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading custom 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 expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, 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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press@harrisinteractive.net



SOURCE Harris Interactive



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