Harris Interactive, a custom market research company has revealed the results of the Harris Poll intended to learn the attitude of people towards the economy and their financial situation. So, according to the results 56% of all the polled adults say that, compared to last year, they feel less secure about their financial situation while 30% said they feel the same as a year before. And only 12% say that they feel more secure about their financial situation.
52% Americans stated that they expect the economy will get worse in 2009 and only 18% have optimistic outlook.
When asked about the personal finances 41% Americans have answered that they believe their personal finances will stay the same in the coming year, 27% say they will get worse and 22% believe they will improve. The question about responsibility revealed the following results: 77% say they themselves are very responsible for how financially secure they will feel in 2009 while just 48% say Congress is very responsible and 46% say the President is extremely or very responsible.
Looking to 2009, over half of Americans (55%) say they expect to cut back on their household spending while 45% expect to pay down their level of debt and 42% say they expect to save more in the year ahead. One-quarter of Americans (24%) will get rid of one or more credit cards, 21% say they will save more for retirement and 16% say they do not expect to do anything different financially in 2009.
The poll has been conducted between December 9 and 15, 2008 and 2,388 U.S. adults were involved.
Perceptions about the Economy by Political Affiliation
With a new Democratic President taking office this month and a new Congress with an even stronger Democratic majority than the previous one, Democrats should be feeling more optimistic about the economy. But, in reality they are not feeling any better about it than Republicans. Half of Republicans (50%) expect the economy to get worse in the coming year as do 52% of Democrats and 56% of Independents. Over one-quarter of both Republicans and Democrats (27% each) say they expect their personal finances to get worse this year. In comparison to last year, half of Republicans (52%) say they feel less secure about their financial situation compared to 61% of Democrats who feel the same way.
Perceptions about the Economy by Generation
In looking at this by generation, Echo Boomers (those aged 18-31) are the ones least concerned about the economy, but they still have concerns. Two in five Echo Boomers (39%) say they expect the economy to get worse in the coming year, compared to over half of all the other generations. This youngest group is also the most optimistic about their own personal finances this year as one-third (32%) of Echo Boomers say they will improve compared to 21% of both Gen Xers (those aged 32-43) and Baby Boomers (those aged 44-62) and only 14% of Matures (those aged 63 and older).
As Americans wait for an economic stimulus plan to be introduced, debated, and implemented there is a strong sense of unease on what the year will bring. Most people are not expecting any quick fixes and they believe that the economy will continue to get worse as the year progresses. If these attitudes become more firmly entrenched, spending will continue to decline and vulnerable industries, such as the automakers, will be in even worse shape. The new President will have a short time period in which to do something to encourage Americans to spend and bolster the economy. Otherwise, it will be another long, dark year of more bad economic news.