A new Gallup poll finds American consumers are feeling better about the economy as gas prices improve but are still deeply troubled due to soaring inflation.
On Wednesday, the pollster reported that its Economic Confidence Index rose to -58 in August, up from -51 in July and a 13-year low of -58 in June. The index hit its record low of -72 in October 2008 following the financial collapse of the mortgage market.
The score, which asks Americans to rate the current economy and say whether it is improving, is based on a 1-100 scale. Launched in 1992, it has not shown a positive result since March 2020, when U.S. officials first shuttered non-essential businesses at the dawn of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gallup’s latest poll found that 16% of adults rate economic conditions as “excellent” or “good;” 47% describe them as “poor;” and 36% say they are “only fair.” While 72% believe the economy is “getting worse,” only 25% believe it’s getting better.
“The prospects for more substantial improvement in economic confidence are likely tied to significant reductions in inflation, which continues to be uppermost in Americans’ minds about the country’s biggest problems,” Gallup reported.
According to the company, 18% of adults say inflation is the country’s “most important problem,” the highest it has measured for this issue since the early 1980s. An equal share say the government is the biggest problem.
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Another 14% list the economy, in general, as the biggest problem. No other issue registered more than 6% of adults.
There were sharp partisan differences on the state of the economy as well: Overall economic confidence in August was at -3 for self-identified Democrats, -43 for independents and -76 for Republicans.
Gallup conducted the randomized national telephone survey of 1,006 adults between Aug. 1 and Aug. 23. The margin of error was plus or minus 4 percentage points.