Economic confidence dips
March 14, 2017
• Current reading back to post-election average
• Sharp fluctuation tied to changes in Americans' economic outlook
Americans' confidence in the economy has declined, returning to its post-election average after a record-setting post-recession high the week before, according to the company that calculates the data, Gallup Inc.
Its “U.S. Economic Confidence Index” was +9 for the week ending March 12. This is down from +16 the previous week. The latest figure is in line with weekly scores recorded throughout February.
The current +9 reading also matches the average for weekly confidence scores since the presidential election in November.
Since late November, Americans have expressed higher confidence in the U.S. economy than they have during any period since Gallup began tracking the index in 2008. Suddenly ebullient Republicans – morose for the eight years of President Barack Obama’s administration -- have powered the uptick.
Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index is the average of two components: how Americans rate current economic conditions and whether they feel the economy is improving or getting worse. The index has a theoretical maximum of +100 if all Americans were to say the economy is doing well and improving, and a theoretical minimum of -100 if all Americans were to say the economy is doing poorly and getting worse.
While economic confidence among Republicans has remained steadily high for the past three weeks, the fluctuation in the latest national figure resulted from movement among Democrats and independents, whose confidence returned this past week to previous lower levels.
Currently, 48 percent of Americans say the economy is getting better, and 45 percent say it is getting worse. That compares with 54 percent and 39 percent, respectively, the prior week. As a result, the economic outlook component of Gallup's index fell to +3 from +15.
Meanwhile, Americans' assessments of current economic conditions were largely unchanged. For the week ending March 12, a third (34 percent) of Americans rated the economy as "excellent" or "good," and 20 percent rated it as "poor," resulting in a +14 current conditions score -- about where it has been since late January.
Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted March 6-12, 2017, on the Gallup U.S. Daily survey, with a random sample of 3,541 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±2 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.
Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 70 percent cellphone respondents and 30 percent landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.