While a majority of U.S. adults still believe the nation’s economy is in a recession, the proportion of Americans who have this opinion has been steadily declining since September 2011. In fact, the 54% of residents who currently perceive the country to be in a recession is the lowest proportion of Americans who have held this view since 2008.
POLL MUST BE SOURCED: McClatchy-Marist Poll*
“Americans are slowly but surely improving their economic outlook,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “But, as President Obama plans to refocus his second term agenda on the economy, he will find concerns over financial matters are still very much on people’s minds.”
Although a majority of Americans think the nation is still in a recession, 38% believe it is not. Eight percent are unsure. When McClatchy-Marist last reported this question in March, 63% thought the nation was still under the cloud of recession, 33% believed the economic skies had cleared for the nation, and 4% were unsure.
Not surprisingly, income matters. Americans who earn less are more likely to think the nation is in a recession. 61% of those who earn less than $50,000 a year say the recession is still underway. This compares with 47% whose annual salary is $50,000 or more.
Guarded Optimism about Personal Finances
A majority of Americans — 52% — think, in the coming year, their personal family finances will be about the same as they are now. 29% say they will be better while 19% report they will be worse. When McClatchy-Marist last reported this question in March, a plurality of residents — 48% — said their family finances would be steady state. More than one in four — 26% — had confidence that their personal money matters would improve. The same proportion — 26% — thought they would decline.
Do Americans believe they will be economically better off in the next year? Nearly three in ten — 29% — say they will be. 32% report they will be worse off, and 39% think they will be in about the same economic position. In March, 25% of U.S. adults said they would be better off in the coming year. 36% believed they would be worse off, and 40% reported that their economic situation would be status quo.
Although a majority of New York State voters — 53% — think the state’s economy is staying about the same as it has been, there has been an uptick in the proportion of voters who think it is getting worse and a drop in the proportion who believe it is getting better. Nearly three in ten — 29% — say the state’s economy is getting worse, and 18% report it is getting better.
“The sluggish economy continues to impact New Yorkers,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “In fact, the proportion of voters who think the economy is getting better and not worse has flipped since last spring.”
When Marist last reported this question in April, nearly half — 49% — perceived the economy as status quo. 27% thought it was getting better while 23% said it was getting worse.
Among Republicans — 40% — and non-enrolled voters — 35%, there has been an increase in the proportions of those who view the state’s economy as worsening. In April, 33% of Republicans and 23% of non-enrolled voters statewide shared this view. Among Democrats, there has been little change in the proportion of those who perceive the economy as getting worse. 21% have this view now while 18% did so last spring. However, there has been an increase in the proportion of Democrats who believe the economy is about the same as it has been. 57% of Democrats currently have this view compared with 45% in April.
By region, the largest shift has occurred in the suburbs of New York City. While 35% of these voters thought the state’s economy was on an upswing last spring, 15% have this impression now. However, nearly six in ten in this region — 58% — say the economy is status quo compared with 44% in April. Upstate, 16% of registered voters think the state’s economy is getting better compared with 22% in April. A third of these voters — 33% — perceive the economy as worsening while 27% had this view last spring.
But, do New York voters think the Empire State is in a recession? More than six in ten — 61% — do while 35% do not. Four percent are unsure.
There has been a modest decrease in the proportion of voters who say the state is in a recession. In April, 67% thought New York was in a recession while 30% did not characterize the state in this way. Three percent, at that time, were unsure.
Majority Perceives Family Finances as Steady
When it comes to their own personal family finances, a majority of registered voters statewide — 56% — think their family finances will remain about the same in the coming year. One in four — 25% — say they will get better while 19% believe their financial situation will get worse.
In April, 53% of voters did not expect any change in their family finances, 31% believed they would get better while 16% said they would get worse.
Gas Prices Stretch Family Finances
Almost three in four New Yorkers who have gas expenses — 74% — experience some amount of financial strain on family finances due to the price of gas. This includes 31% who feel a great deal of financial strain and 43% who have a moderate amount of stress because of this expense. 15%, however, do not feel much economic strain while 11% feel none at all.
When Marist last reported this question in April, 78% felt, at least, a moderate amount pain at the pump. 12% didn’t experience much financial strain due to the price of gas while 10% underwent none at all.
But, are drivers adjusting their transportation choices because of the high price of gas? A slim majority — 51% — say they are. 49% are not. In April, 58% of drivers reported they changed their driving habits because of gas prices while 42% said they did not.
While 51% of Americans who spend money on holiday shopping say they expect to dish out about the same amount of money as they did last year, there has been both an uptick in those who expect to spend more this holiday season and a decline in the proportion who say they will spend less. 12% of holiday shoppers plan to spend more money this year which is the highest in more than a decade. Last year, only 7% of holiday shoppers were poised to increase their spending. There has also been a slight decrease in the proportion of those who plan to spend less. 37% say they will decrease their expenditures on holiday shopping this year. In 2011, 42% of holiday shoppers planned to cut back on their holiday spending. At that time, 50% said they would spend about the same as they had the previous year.
Are holiday shoppers turning to the Internet to make their purchases? 44% say they don’t expect to buy any of their presents online. 56%, however, will surf the web for holiday gifts, including 42% who will buy some of their holiday presents electronically and 14% who plan to do all or most of their shopping in cyberspace.
In December of 2010, 47% said they would not buy any holiday presents online. 53% reported they would shop online, including 42% who said some of their purchases would be done in this way and 11% who reported they would buy all or most of their gifts on the Internet.
Ho, Ho, Holiday Headaches: Crowds Top the List
Which aspect of the holiday season do Americans dislike most? 33% do not like the crowds. 18% are not fans of credit card debt. Finding the right gift is the biggest hassle for 15% while packing on the extra pounds is the hardest part for 12% of Americans. Eight percent most dislike being in the company of certain relatives, and traveling is the most unpleasant aspect of the season for 5%. Eight percent are unsure.
Regardless of region, income, age, or gender, crowds are the biggest hassle of the holiday season.
The higher cost of gasoline has created increased financial strain for New York State drivers. According to this NY1/YNN-Marist Poll, 78% of New Yorkers with gasoline expenses report the increased cost has put, at least, a moderate amount of strain on their family budget. This includes 36% who say it has added a great deal of strain and 42% who feel a moderate amount of financial stress. 12% report gas prices have not added very much strain to their personal finances while 10% say it has added no stress at all.
These results are comparable to those found nationally. In a recent McClatchy-Marist Poll, 77% of adults nationally reported they have experienced, at least, a moderate amount of strain due to increased gas prices, 12% said they haven’t undergone very much financial stress, and 10% reported they did not have any strain at all.
“People are experiencing significant pain at the pump,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, “Many are changing their driving habits, and a notable number expect to change their vacation plans.”
Not surprisingly, income is a factor. Half of those who earn less than $50,000 annually — 50% — say they have experienced a great deal of financial strain as a result of higher gas prices. This compares with 33% who make $50,000 to just under $100,000 and 19% of those who earn $100,000 or more.
U-Turn for NYS Drivers… More Than One-Third of New Yorkers to Change Travel Plans
Nearly six in ten drivers in New York State — 58% — have changed their driving habits because of high gas prices. 42%, however, have not.
Regionally, gas prices have had a greater impact on upstate drivers. 63% of those living in the region say they have altered their driving habits. 54% of New York City drivers and the same proportion of those in the city’s suburbs — 54% — report the same.
There are gender differences on this question. 63% of women compared with 53% of men have changed their driving practices thanks to high gas costs.
And, 35% of New York State adults believe they are likely to change their vacation plans because of high gas prices. 64% say it is not very likely they will adjust their plans, and 1% is unsure.
Income plays a role. 43% of those who earn less than $50,000 a year say it is likely they will re-think their vacation plans. 34% of those who make $50,000 to just under $100,000 and 20% who bring in $100,000 or more believe it’s likely they will change their vacation plans.
Has the New York State economy turned the economic corner? A slim majority of registered voters in New York — 51% — believe the worst of the state’s economic conditions are over. 44% say the worst is still to come, and 5% are unsure.
There has been little change on this question since NY1/YNN-Marist’s January survey when 52% of voters reported the worst of New York’s tough economic times were behind us, 44% thought there was more bad economic news ahead, and 5% were unsure.
“Although New Yorkers are somewhat optimistic about the economy, their faith in the recovery remains fragile,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.
When it comes to the state of New York’s economy, a plurality of voters report it’s steady. Nearly half — 49% — believe the economy is about the same as it has been. More than one in four — 27% — says it is getting better while 23% think it is getting worse.
Here, too, similar proportions shared these views in January. At that time, the same proportion — 49% — said the New York economy was status quo, 26% reported it was improving, and 25% believed it was getting worse.
Is New York in a recession? About two-thirds of voters — 67% — think so while 30% believe the recession is over. Three percent are unsure.
When NY1/YNN-Marist last reported this question in January, 72% of voters believed New York to be in a recession while 26% did not. Three percent, at the time, were unsure.
Steady State for Family Finances, Says Majority
When it comes to their personal family finances, a majority of New York State voters expect little change in the next year. 53% believe their personal financial picture will remain about the same while 31% think it will get better. 16% report it will get worse.
These proportions are little changed from January when 55% expected their financial situation to stay the course. 30% thought an improvement was on the horizon while 15% anticipated their family finances would get worse.
More Than Seven in Ten New Yorkers Support Increasing the Minimum Wage
72% of adults in New York State believe raising the minimum wage is a good idea because it adds to income during difficult times. 25%, however, say it is a bad idea because in difficult times, small businesses will hire fewer people who need jobs. Three percent are unsure.
These proportions are nearly identical to those reported in NY1/YNN-Marist’s January survey. At that time, 69% thought increasing the minimum wage was a good idea while 27% believed it was a bad idea. Four percent, then, were unsure.
With the clock ticking down to Tax Day, money is on the minds of many Americans. When it comes to the “mad” money they keep in their homes, where do they like to stash it? More than one in four Americans — 27% — reports they hide their money in the freezer. 19% of residents “sock” their green away while 11% sleep well at night with their cash stuffed under their mattress. One in ten — 10% — buries their dough in the cookie jar while 9% leave their loot in some other household location. 17% say there is no good place in the home to hide their money, and 7% are unsure.
Looking at age, Americans 45 and older — 21% — are more than two times as likely than younger Americans — 10% — to report there is no good place in the home to hide money.
For both women — 28% — and men — 25%, the freezer is the most popular place in the home to keep their money safe.
More Americans have a brighter outlook about the future of the U.S. economy. According to this national McClatchy-Marist Poll, 49% of U.S. residents say the worst of the country’s economic woes are behind us while 45% report there is more bad news ahead. Six percent are unsure. The proportion of residents who believe the nation’s tough economic times are over is the highest since January of 2011 when a majority — 54% — thought the country had turned the economic corner.
These latest findings are in contrast to McClatchy-Marist’s November survey when 53% of Americans reported that, when thinking about the future of the U.S. economy, the worst was still to come. 41%, at that time, said the worst was behind us, and 5% were unsure.
“A growing number of Americans believe the economy is back on track,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “But, continued pain at the pump threatens to derail this optimism.”
And, while many Americans still view the nation as in a recession, fewer have this perception. In fact, the proportion who currently reports the country is in a recession — 66% — is the lowest in four years. Three in ten U.S. adults — 30% — now believe the nation is not in a recession, and 4% are unsure.
When McClatchy-Marist last reported this question in November, 73% of residents said America was in a recession, 25% believed the opposite was true, and 3%, at that time, were unsure.
Rising Gas Prices Strap Americans…Plenty of Blame to Go Around
What is the overall impact of the higher cost of gas on Americans’ wallets? 77% of U.S. adults say rising gas prices have put at least a moderate amount of strain on their family’s budget. Included here are 37% who say they have experienced a great deal of strain and 40% who have felt a moderate pinch at the pump. 12% report the increased cost has not had much of a strain on their family finances, and 10% say the prices have had no strain at all.
When Marist last reported this question in April of 2008, 56% of Americans said higher gas prices put a great deal of strain on their finances while 26% thought it added a moderate amount of stress on their family budgets.
As gas prices rise, there’s little consensus about the cause of the hike. 34% point a finger at the turmoil in the Middle East followed closely by 31% who blame the U.S. oil companies. 17% say President Barack Obama and the Democrats in Congress are responsible while just 7% put the onus on the Republicans in Congress. Four percent report state and local taxes are at fault, and 7% are unsure.
When McClatchy-Marist last reported this question in April 2011, 36% blamed the upset in the Middle East, 34% said the oil companies were at the root of the problem, and 11% thought the president and Congressional Democrats were at fault. Seven percent pointed a finger at the Republicans in Congress, and 3% reported state and local taxes were responsible. 10%, at the time, were unsure.
Higher gas prices impact Americans’ daily routine. A majority — 53% — say they have changed their driving habits due to the price of gas while 46% have not, and 1% is unsure.
And, U.S. residents see no relief in sight. In fact, Americans expect the cost of a gallon of gas in their neighborhood to average $4.38 a gallon by Memorial Day.
The higher cost of gas isn’t the only factor which has prompted Americans to tighten their belts.
- Higher food costs have caused a great deal of strain for 20% of Americans. 47% have felt a moderate amount of financial burden while 18% have experienced little strain. 15% have undergone no added financial difficulty. In 2008, 25% reported a substantial strain due to rising food costs while 43% experienced a moderate deal of strain.
- Affording health care has also been problematic for many. The increased cost has created a great deal of financial burden for 19% while an additional 40% have felt a moderate amount of burden. 14%, though, have not experienced a lot of strain, and 27% have undergone no financial stress at all. In 2008, 23% of Americans experienced a great deal of financial stress due to increased health care costs while 29% had a moderate amount of additional strain.
- When it comes to the added financial burden caused by the higher cost of a mortgage or rent, 12% have experienced a great deal of financial strain, 28% have felt moderate stress while 17% and 43%, respectively, have undergone very little or none at all. Four years ago, 15% of U.S. residents said increased mortgage or rent payments added a lot to their financial strain while 23% reported it caused some concern.
There has been an increase in the proportion of Americans who believe their overall, personal financial picture in the next year will improve. 32% have this view while 14% say it will get worse. A majority — 55% — reports there will be no difference in their family finances.
In McClatchy-Marist’s November survey, 22% thought their money matters would improve, 19% reported they would get worse, and 59% said their finances would remain about the same.
Is the recession over? Are Americans feeling the pinch from higher gas prices?
Find out in the latest national McClatchy-Marist Poll. To read the full McClatchy article, click here.
New York State voters see a light at the end of the financial tunnel. A majority of registered voters statewide — 52% — believe the worst of the state’s economic woes are behind them. 44% think the worst is yet to come, and 5% are unsure.
This is in stark contrast with voters’ views from November. In that NY1/YNN-Marist Poll, a majority — 54% — thought there were more tumultuous economic times on the horizon while 42% said the worst was over. Four percent, at the time, were unsure.
“More New York voters are beginning to see an improved economic picture,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “It’s not exactly rosy but the gloom is lifting.”
- Perceptions of the economy’s future have improved among both Democrats and Republicans. 59% of Democrats and 44% of Republicans now report the worst is over. This compares with 47% and 32%, respectively, in November. 46% of non-enrolled voters share this view compared with 42% in the previous poll.
- Regionally, the greatest change has occurred in New York City. A majority of voters in this region — 55% — see a clearer economic picture ahead while only 39% held this view in November. Upstate voters are also more positive. Half — 50% — of voters, compared with 38% two months ago, think better days are ahead. In the suburbs of New York City, 51% have this view, little changed from 52% in November.
Not only do voters think the worst of the state’s economic problems are over, they believe the state’s economy is on an upswing. More than one in four voters — 26% — report New York’s economy is getting better; double the proportion — 13% — who shared this opinion in November. One in four voters — 25% — still say the state’s economy is getting worse, but 36% felt this way in the last poll. Almost half — 49% — report it is about the same, relatively unchanged from the 51% in NY1/YNN-Marist’s previous survey.
- Looking at party, about one in three Democratic voters — 33% — say the economy is improving, a 17 percentage point increase from 16% in November. Among non-enrolled voters, 21% see the economy as getting better compared with 11% previously. 19% of Republicans share this view while 10% did so in November.
While more than seven in ten voters in New York say the state is still in a recession, there has been a slight decrease in the proportion who thinks this to be so. 72% think New York is in a recession while 26% believe it is not, and 3% are unsure. In November, 78% thought the statewide economy to be in this condition, 20% reported it was not, and 2% were unsure.
Voters More Upbeat About Personal Finances
On the home front, there has been an increase in the proportion of voters who perceive their family finances to be improving. Three in ten — 30% — have this impression while 15% think their money matters are getting worse. A majority — 55% — see their finances as status quo.
When NY1/YNN-Marist last reported this question in November, 23% said their family finances were getting better, 22% thought they were getting worse, and 55% believed they were about the same.
- While voters across the state are more positive about their financial picture, those in New York City are the most optimistic. 41% of these voters say their finances are improving compared with 28% in the city’s suburbs and 24% of upstate voters. In November, those proportions stood at 28%, 23%, and 20%, respectively.
Up the Minimum Wage? Nearly Seven in Ten Adults Think So
69% of New York State adults believe raising the minimum wage is a good idea because it adds money to people’s income during difficult times. 27%, however, say it is a bad idea because small businesses will hire fewer people who need jobs when times are tough. Four percent are unsure.
- Across each region, more than six in ten adults support the idea of increasing the minimum wage in the state. However, more residents in New York City — 75% — say the idea is a good one compared with 68% of those in the city’s suburbs and 64% of upstate residents.
Although a majority of adults nationally say, when thinking about the future of the U.S. economy, the worst is still ahead, there has been a decrease in the proportion of residents who have this view. 53% of Americans believe there is more bad economic news ahead while 41% report the worst is behind us. Five percent are unsure.
In McClatchy-Marist’s September survey, more than six in ten U.S. residents — 61% — thought the worst of the nation’s economic conditions were ahead while 35% said the worst was over. Three percent, at the time, were unsure.
Similar proportions of registered voters share these views. A majority of voters — 53% — report the worst is ahead, 41% say it is over, and 6% are unsure. Regardless of party, there has been a slight increase in optimism about the future of the U.S. economy.
However, 73% of residents believe the country is in a recession while 25% say it is not. Three percent are unsure.
Little has changed on this question since September. At that time, 75% thought the economy was in a recession, 22% said it was not, and 3% were unsure.
When it comes to family finances, overall, 59% think their financial picture will remain about the same in the coming year. More than one in five — 22% — believe their finances will get better, and 19% report they will get worse.
In Marist’s October survey, 55% thought their personal money matters would stay about the same, 28% said they would improve, and 17% reported they would get worse.
Obama Avoids Blame for Economy…Half See Good in Obama Jobs Plan
Politically speaking, many registered voters nationally do not blame President Barack Obama for the nation’s current economic conditions. In fact, six in ten voters — 60% — believe the president inherited the country’s financial situation. 32%, however, think the nation’s economy is a result of the president’s own policies, and 8% are unsure.
Little has changed on this question. In September, 60% reported Mr. Obama was handed the country’s economic conditions while 34% believed the president’s policies caused them. Six percent, at the time, were unsure.
When it comes to the president’s jobs plan, half of adults nationally — 50% — think his proposal will do more good than harm. 40%, however, think the plan will have the opposite impact, and 2% say it will make no difference. Nine percent are unsure.
A couple of months ago, 51% thought there was more good than harm in the president’s plan while 38% said it was more harmful than helpful. Only 1% reported it would have no impact on the jobs picture, and 11%, at the time, were unsure.
Who do Americans trust more to create jobs? Residents divide. 46% have more faith in President Obama while 42% trust the Republicans in Congress to create more jobs. 12% are unsure.
Similar proportions had these views in September. At that time, 45% put more trust in President Obama to create jobs while 41% had more confidence in Congressional Republicans. 14%, then, were unsure.