Economic Attitudes Indicate Encroaching Anxieties

By Harris, Special for  USDR

Americans are increasingly bracing for overcast economic skies: Only one in four U.S. adults (25%) believe the economy will improve in the coming year, down from a third (32%) at the beginning of 2015. Conversely, 27% believe the economy is going to get worse in the coming year – up from 21% in  January.

  • Millennials (32%) and Democrats (38%) are most likely to believe the state of the U.S. economy will improve.
  • Meanwhile, Baby Boomers (31%) and Republicans (39%) are most likely to say it will get worse.

Looking toward the homestead, 23% of Americans expect their own household’s financial condition to get better in the next six months – on par with April (also 23%) but down from earlier in the year (27% January, 26% February); meanwhile, belief that the economic state of the household will backslide (22%) has risen some since February  (19%).

  • Men are more likely than women (28% vs. 19%) to expect their household’s financial condition to improve in the next six months, while women are more likely (59% vs. 50%) to believe it will remain the  same.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,220 adults surveyed online between June 17 and 22, 2015. Full results of this study, including data tables, can be found  here.

President Obama’s ratings down as  well
Positive ratings of President Obama’s overall job performance, which jumped a bit to 41% last month, are now back at 38% (identical to April). Strong majorities of Democrats (68%) and Liberals (70%) give the President positive ratings, while even stronger majorities of Republicans (92%) and Conservatives (86%) give him negative ratings. As for Independents, two-thirds (66%) give the President negative overall ratings while one-third (34%) give him positive  ratings.

When asked to rate President Obama’s performance specifically in regards to the economy, positive ratings, at 36%, are the lowest they’ve been since last December (when they were at 34%). Correspondingly, negative ratings (64%) are the highest they’ve been in 2015 to  date.

Ratings for Congress and overall state of the country also  low
Congress spends its third month in a row just short of a double-digit positive rating, with 9% giving it positive ratings and 91% rating it negatively. Here the parties (and those without a party) are united, with low positive ratings across political lines (7% among Republicans, 10% each among Democrats and  Independents).

Ratings improve a bit in relation to one’s own member of the House of Representatives, with one-fourth of Americans (24%) rating their own representative positively, 63% rating them negatively and 13% saying they’re not familiar enough with their representative to give a  rating.

Similar to economic and presidential ratings, the perception that the country is headed in the right direction is at its lowest point of 2015, with three in ten affirming this position (30%, down from 35% last month) while seven in ten (70%, up from 65% last month) feel the country has gotten off on the wrong track. Democrats are split on whether things in the country are going in the right direction (50%) or have gotten off on the wrong track (also 50%), while majorities of Republicans (86%) and Independents (75%) believe things have gotten off on the wrong  track.

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This Harris Poll was conducted online, in English, within the United States between June 17 and 22, 2015 among 2,220 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, The Harris Poll 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 Poll 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 our 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 The Harris  Poll.

The Harris Poll® #37, July 1, 2015
By Larry Shannon-Missal, Managing Editor, The Harris  Poll

About The Harris  Poll®
Begun in 1963, The Harris Poll is one of the longest running surveys measuring public opinion in the U.S. and is highly regarded throughout the world.  The nationally representative polls, conducted primarily online, measure the knowledge, opinions, behaviors and motivations of the general public.  New and trended polls on a wide variety of subjects including politics, the economy, healthcare, foreign affairs, science and technology, sports and entertainment, and lifestyles are published weekly.  For more information, or to see other recent polls, visit us at

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