Two in Five Americans Feel Less Secure Financially Than One Year Ago

Almost half say they expect economy to stay the same in the coming year

Dec 27, 2010, 06:04 ET from Harris Interactive

NEW YORK, Dec. 27, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Holiday shopping is over and the New Year's Eve plans are made. It's also the time of year when people look back and look forward and, this year many are probably thinking more of the economic year that was and the one that will be. President Obama is also probably thinking ahead to the economic future and his handling of the economy. At the end of his second year in office, just three in ten Americans (30%) give him positive ratings on the job he is doing on the economy while seven in ten (70%) give him negative ratings.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,331 adults surveyed online between December 6 and 13, 2010 by Harris Interactive.

When asked to compare their financial situation to last year, two in five Americans (42%) feel less secure now while one-third (36%) feel just as secure and one in five (19%) say they now feel more secure. While this reflects the end of a troubling financial year, it also shows an improvement from what people felt last year at this time. One year ago, over half of Americans (56%) said they felt less secure about their financial situation when compared to the previous year.

Looking ahead, one-quarter of Americans (26%) say they expect the economy to get worse in the coming year while three in ten (29%) expect it to get better and 45% say it will stay the same. Last month, over one-third (34%) said they thought the economy would be getting better, 41% said it would stay the same and 25% believed it would get worse.

The job market

In looking at the job market, just over one in three Americans (13%) rate the job market in their region of the country as good while three in five (63%) rate it as bad and one-quarter (24%) say it is neither good nor bad. Looking ahead, one-quarter of U.S. adults (25%) say they expect the job market to be better over the next six months, one in five (22%) say it will be worse and over half (54%) believe it will remain the same.

2011 Financial Expectations

Looking to what people may be doing with regard to their finances in the coming year, half of Americans (49%) say they will cut back on their household spending. Two in five say they will pay down their level of debt (41%) and save more in the year ahead (40%).  One in five U.S. adults say they will get rid of one or more credit cards (22%) and save more for retirement (22%) while 13% say they will undertake home improvements that increase the value of their home. Less than one in ten will invest in less risky investments (8%), refinance their mortgage (6%) or take out a home equity line of credit (2%). And, one in five Americans (18%) say they do not expect to do anything differently financially in 2011.

So What?

At the beginning of the year everyone always has the best intentions. Resolutions are made typically about health, diet and/or finances. But, as everyone knows, resolutions are also broken and if they last until the end of January, that's a great thing. As the year goes on, it will be interesting to see if people are saving more, paying down their debt or cutting back on household spending.

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

March

April

May

June

Aug

Sept

Nov

Dec

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

POSITIVE (NET)

47

49

46

43

39

40

34

36

   Excellent

13

13

10

3

9

7

6

6

   Pretty good

34

36

36

34

31

33

27

30

NEGATIVE (NET)

53

51

54

57

61

60

66

64

   Only fair

30

27

30

27

25

27

30

30

   Poor

23

24

24

30

36

33

37

34





2010

Jan

March

April

May

June

Aug

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

POSITIVE (NET)

31

32

33

36

32

32

29

27

31

30

   Excellent

5

5

6

6

5

6

5

5

5

5

   Pretty good

25

27

27

30

27

26

24

22

26

25

NEGATIVE (NET)

69

68

67

64

68

68

71

73

69

70

   Only fair

31

30

31

29

32

29

31

33

30

34

   Poor

39

37

36

34

37

39

40

39

39

36


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



TABLE 2A

FINANCIAL SECURITY

"Compared to last year, how secure do you feel about your financial situation?"

Base: All adults


Total

Political Affiliation

Generation

Rep.

Dem.

Ind.

Echo

Boomers

(18-33)

Gen. X

(34-45)

Baby

Boomers

(46-64)

Matures

(65+)

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

MORE SECURE (NET)

19

11

27

21

26

19

17

13

  Much more secure

5

2

8

5

5

5

5

3

  Somewhat more secure

14

10

19

16

21

14

11

10

Same as last year

36

35

39

34

36

36

38

32

LESS SECURE (NET)

42

52

31

45

33

42

44

55

  Somewhat less secure

23

26

18

24

19

20

22

31

  Much less secure

20

26

13

21

13

22

22

24

Not sure

2

2

2

1

6

2

1

*


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

Note: * indicates less than 0.5%



TABLE 2B

FINANCIAL SECURITY - TREND

"Compared to last year, how secure do you feel about your financial situation?"

Base: All adults


2008

2009

2010

%

%

%

MORE SECURE (NET)

21

12

19

  Much more secure

4

3

5

  Somewhat more secure

17

9

14

Same as last year

34

30

36

LESS SECURE (NET)

38

56

42

  Somewhat less secure

24

33

23

  Much less secure

14

23

20

Not sure

7

3

2


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



TABLE 3

2011 FINANCIAL EXPECTATIONS

"Which of the following do you expect to do in 2011* in regards to your finances?"

Base: All adults


2009

2010

Generation

Echo

Boomers

(18-33)

Gen. X

(34-45)

Baby

Boomers

(46-64)

Matures

(65+)

%

%

%

%

%

%

Cut back on my household spending

55

49

41

49

56

47

Pay down my level of debt

45

41

32

50

48

31

Save more in the year ahead

42

40

51

42

35

31

Get rid of one or more credit cards

24

22

13

23

29

24

Save more for retirement

21

22

18

26

29

10

Undertake home improvements that increase the
value of my home

14

13

12

11

12

17

Invest in less risky investments

9

8

5

6

9

12

Refinance my mortgage

5

6

4

8

9

4

Take out a home equity line of credit

2

2

3

2

1

1

Other

6

6

9

6

4

4

I don't expect to do anything different financially in 2011*

16

18

23

16

14

21


Note: Multiple response question; In 2009 this question asked about financial activity for 2010



TABLE 4

EXPECTATIONS FOR THE ECONOMY IN 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

June

Aug

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Improve

39

38

46

40

34

38

30

29

28

30

34

29

Stay the same

35

35

32

36

37

34

42

39

40

40

41

45

Get worse

26

27

22

24

29

28

28

32

32

30

25

26


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



TABLE 5A

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

June

Aug

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

GOOD (NET)

10

8

10

12

10

12

10

13

11

13

Neither good nor bad

20

18

21

20

25

22

21

21

23

24

BAD (NET)

70

73

70

68

66

66

69

66

66

63


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



TABLE 5B

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)

13

14

9

16

10

 Very good

2

4

*

2

2

 Somewhat good

11

10

9

14

8

Neither good nor bad

24

32

21

22

22

BAD (NET)

63

54

70

62

68

 Somewhat bad

38

31

45

38

39

 Very bad

25

23

25

24

29


Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding; * indicates less than 0.5%



TABLE 6

EXPECTATIONS FOR JOB MARKET IN SIX MONTHS – TREND

"How do you think that the job market in your region of the nation will change over the next 6 months?"

Base:  All adults


Jan.

2009

April

2009

June

2009

August

2009

June

2010

Aug

2010

Sept

2010

Oct

2010

Nov

2010

Dec

2010

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

BETTER (NET)

15

23

21

28

26

23

21

23

30

25

 Will be much better

1

3

2

2

1

2

2

3

2

2

 Will be somewhat better

14

20

19

26

25

21

19

20

28

23

 Will remain the same

36

42

47

47

53

49

53

53

50

54

WORSE (NET)

49

36

32

25

21

27

26

24

21

22

 Will be somewhat worse

36

29

24

19

15

22

20

18

15

16

 Will be much worse

14

7

8

6

6

5

6

6

6

6


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



Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between December 6 to 13, 2010 among 2,331 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.

J39118

Q705, 710, 715, 720, 725, 730

The Harris Poll® #156, December 27, 2010

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



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