Aug. 19, 2009

More See White House and GOP Leaders at Odds

Americans are in an increasingly sour mood about Washington. Barack Obama’s approval ratings continue to inch downward and a growing proportion of Americans (63%) think that the president and Republican leaders are not working together to deal with important issues facing the nation; in June, 50% said the two sides were not cooperating. While […]

Jun. 19, 2009

Public More Optimistic About the Economy, But Still Reluctant to Spend

The public is increasingly optimistic that the nation’s economy will improve in the next year, while a growing number also expect their personal finances to get better. But this has not caused people to open their wallets: The proportion saying they have cut back on personal spending remains as high as it was earlier […]

May. 21, 2009

Section 7: Optimism, Personal Finances and Inequality

While the country is facing deep economic problems, Americans remain convinced of the value of hard work, and continue to believe that individuals control their fates. And while people express greater personal financial dissatisfaction than in more than two decades of values surveys, there has been no increase in the proportion saying they are unable […]

Mar. 16, 2009

Section 4: Economic Outlook

National Economic Ratings The public continues to offer a bleak assessment of current national economic conditions. Nearly seven-in-ten (68%) rate the economy as poor while an additional 25% say the economy is in only fair shape. Just 6% call economic conditions good and fewer than 1% (3 of 1,308 adults interviewed) say conditions are excellent. […]

Feb. 12, 2009

Section 3: More Than Just the Unemployed

While unemployment levels are a critical measure of the nation’s economic standing, the impact of job problems goes far beyond the minority who are currently out of work. Of all adults interviewed in the survey, 12% say they are currently not working and seeking employment; another 28% are not working but not looking, including retired […]

Feb. 12, 2009

Section 4: Views of the National Economy

National Economic Ratings Americans continue to offer overwhelmingly negative assessments of national economic conditions, and the percentage saying the nation’s economy is in poor shape has risen sharply in recent months. Fully 95% now give negative ratings of the economy, including 71% who describe current economic conditions as “poor” (another 24% say it is “only […]

Feb. 12, 2009

As Jobs Crisis Spreads, Worries Climb the Economic Ladder

For the public, the continuing financial crisis has been overtaken by a jobs crisis. The proportion of Americans citing jobs or unemployment as the nation’s most important economic problem has more than quadrupled – from 10% to 42% – since early October and job worries now far surpass concerns over the financial crisis. People’s […]

Jan. 7, 2009

Gains Seen On Minority Discrimination – But Little Else

As Barack Obama prepares to take office, majorities say the country is losing ground on any number of key issues, particularly economic ones. Nearly eight-in-ten (79%) say the country is falling further behind on the federal budget deficit, far more than said that during the mid-1990s when the deficit was a top-tier policy issue. […]

Dec. 11, 2008

Section 1: The National Economy

Americans remain extremely downbeat about national economic conditions. More than nine-in-ten (92%) say the economy is in only fair (33%) or poor (59%) shape, while just 7% offer positive views. Assessments of the national economy have been stable over the past two months and are somewhat more negative than they were during the recession of […]

Dec. 11, 2008

Section 3: The Government and the Economy

The public broadly favors the government substantially increasing funding for roads, bridges and other public works projects. However, other government efforts to deal with the struggling economy – including the program already enacted to help secure financial institutions and markets – are much more controversial. Fully 70% believe it is the right thing for the […]

Dec. 11, 2008

Psychology of Bad Times Fueling Consumer Cutbacks

Americans continue to render extremely bleak assessments of economic conditions, both with respect to the national economy and their own financial situations. Fully 92% of the public rates the national economy as only fair or poor, and a substantial majority (61%) judges their personal finances that way. Both measures are among the most negative […]

Oct. 15, 2008

Public Not Desperate About Economy or Personal Finances

Americans are concerned about the nation’s economic problems almost to the exclusion of every other issue, and they register the lowest level of national satisfaction ever measured in a Pew Research Center survey. Just 11% say they are satisfied with the way things are going in the country – down 14 points in the […]

Oct. 15, 2008

Section 1: The National Economy and Personal Finances

The economy dominates the list of the most important problems facing the country; three-quarters of the public now cites an economic concern as the most important national problem. This is the highest percentage mentioning an economic problem as the biggest issue confronting the nation since January 1992 (76%). While the overall economy is a greater […]

Oct. 15, 2008

Section 3: Public Attitudes Toward Government and Business

The findings of two long-term values questions exemplify the public’s nuanced, but fundamentally positive, outlook on the country’s ability to weather the financial crisis. When asked whether there are “no real limits to growth in this country” or whether “people should learn to live with less” the public has shifted decidedly toward the latter. The […]

Jul. 31, 2008

Inflation Staggers Public, Economy Still Seen as Fixable

The public continues to be extremely downbeat about the national economy. Just 10% say the economy is in good shape, while 72% say the economy is either in a recession (54%) or a depression (18%). On a personal level, concerns about rising prices have surged. Beyond widespread anxiety about energy costs, a growing number […]

Oct. 11, 2007

Nation’s Real Estate Slump Hits Wealthy Areas

Summary of Findings Public assessments of the nation’s economy have fallen to a two-year low, and the nation’s economic outlook remains relatively gloomy. In particular, faced with a steady stream of negative news about the U.S. housing market, Americans are substantially less inclined than they were even a few months ago to say they expect […]

Sep. 15, 2005

Economic Pessimism Grows, Gas Prices Pinch

Summary of Findings A summer’s worth of bad news, culminating with Hurricane Katrina, has taken a toll on the public’s mood, particularly when it comes to views of the economy and energy costs. The public’s economic expectations, while hardly robust in the spring, have grown much more negative. Nearly four-in-ten (37%) think economic conditions will […]

Jun. 1, 2005

Economic Concerns Fueled by Many Woes

Summary of Findings The public continues to be wary in its assessments of the health of the U.S. economy, despite recent improvement in some key economic indicators. Only about one-in-three Americans think the national economy is in good shape, and optimism about the future is markedly lower than it has been over the past three […]

Jan. 13, 2005

Additional Findings and Analyses

Most Important Problem In an open-ended format, roughly one-in-three Americans (32%) volunteer the situation in Iraq as the most important problem facing the nation. This represents twice as many people as a year ago, when the public’s outlook about Iraq was much more positive in the wake of Saddam Hussein’s capture. When combined with terrorism, […]

Aug. 12, 2004

Public Faults Bush on Economy – 55% Say Jobs are Scarce

Summary of Findings With three months to go until the presidential election, the American public remains largely dissatisfied with economic conditions and with President Bush’s stewardship of the economy. Two-thirds rate the national economy as “only fair” or “poor,” while just one-third judge it to be “excellent” or “good.” Accordingly, Bush gets low ratings for […]