Only one in five adults are saving more than before the downturn of the economy.
As the focus of the White House turns even more towards the economy, President Obama is facing an American public who are not expecting things to be better, not expecting the economy to turn around in the near future and who are earning and saving less.
The President will need to back up anything he says with quick and strong action to win over Americans who are hurting financially.
One in five U.S. adults (21%) expect their household's financial condition to be better in the next six months while half (49%) expect it will remain the same.
Three in ten (30%) believe their financial condition will be worse in the next six months.
This is similar to how people felt in December when 19% believe their household's financial condition would be better in six months, 48% believed it would be the same and one-third (33%) believed it would be worse.
These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,576 adults surveyed online between January 18 and 25, 2010 by Harris Interactive.
Looking to economic growth, 14% of Americans believe the economy has started growing already while 12% believe it will begin growing in the next six months.
Two in five U.S. adults (22%) believe the economy will begin growing between six and 12 months from now and two in five (39%) do not think it will begin growing for another year or longer.
And, while the president has been trying to rally support and show Americans the economy has started growing again, he is only getting marginal support on this from his own party.
One in five Democrats (19%) agree with President Obama and economists that the economy has begun growing again compared to 9% of Republicans and 14% of Independents.
At the other end, half of Republicans (49%) and 39% of Independents say the economy will not begin growing for another year or more compared to one-third (32%) of Democrats.
Comparing Incomes and Savings
Many Americans saw their incomes shrink over the past year. In fact, two in five (39%) say their household income now is lower than it was in 2008 before the downturn in the economy and one-quarter (26%) say it is lower now than it was just three months ago.
Only 18% say their income is higher now than in 2008 and 10% say it is higher now than three months ago.
There have also been claims that people are saving more now that there is this economic uncertainty and concern over jobs.
However, two in five Americans (40%) say they are saving less now than they were in 2008 before the downturn in the economy while 36% say they are saving less than just three months ago.
Less than one in five (18%) of U.S. adults are saving more than in 2008 while 14% say they are saving more than three months ago.
One of the possible reasons for President Obama's approval ratings slide is the focus on health care reform while the economy and jobs seemed to be but on the back burner by the White House.
In the State of the Union, the president made it clear that he is focused on the economy, but will that be enough to Americans who are struggling to make ends meet and who do not see a dramatic upturn in the economy in the near future?
This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States January 18 to 25, 2010 among 2,576 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.
Q710, 715, 730, 735
The Harris Poll®#18, February 4, 2010
By Regina Corso, Director, 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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4th February 2010