Poll: Personal Finance Ratings Slip
Americans' positive ratings of their personal finances slipped this week to their lowest level in fo...
Published on: Mar 4, 2016
Transcripts - Poll: Personal Finance Ratings Slip
Poll: Personal Finance Ratings Slip
Americans' positive ratings of their personal finances slipped this week to their lowest level in four
In the latest ABCNEWS/Money magazine poll, 58 percent of Americans say their finances are in
good shape, down from 67 percent last February and the fewest since December 1997. While it was
a good deal worse in the last recession, a continued weakening of this rating could spell trouble: Its
strength has helped keep consumer confidence from a complete free-fall this year.
Ratings of the national economy are far worse -- just 37 percent positive -- but have stabilized.
They've plummeted 34 points over the course of 2001, but have held relatively steady since mid-
Forty-six percent say now's a good time to buy things, about where it was at the start of the year.
Positive ratings of the buying climate are now three points better than their 2001 average and eight
points better than their low this year.
The ABCNEWS/Money magazine Consumer Comfort Index, based on these views, stands at -6 on its
scale of +100 to -100, down three points from last week to its lowest since March 1997. The index
has hovered from -2 to -6 since mid-October.
The ABCNEWS/Money index stood at +23 in January, but went on to lose seven points in one week
in January (tying the one-week record), six points in a week in February, five points in a week in
March and another five points in one week in April. It reversed another slide to gain ground
immediately after the Sept. 11 attacks, but then lost another five points in mid-October.
A Closer Look
As usual, confidence is higher among better-off Americans. The index is +13 in higher-income
households compared to -38 in the lowest, +1 among college graduates while -23 among high-school
dropouts, -2 among whites but -41 among blacks and +3 among men while -14 among women.
Here's a closer look at the three components of the ABCNEWS/Money poll:
NATIONAL ECONOMY -- Thirty-seven percent of Americans rate the nation's economy as excellent
or good, the same as last week. The best was 80 percent Jan. 16, 2000. The worst was seven percent
in late 1991 and early 1992.
PERSONAL FINANCES -- Fifty-eight percent rate their own finances as excellent or good, down four
points from last week. The best was 70 percent, set Aug. 30, 1998, and last matched in January
2000. The worst rating was 42 percent on March 14, 1993.
BUYING CLIMATE -- Forty-six percent say it's an excellent or good time to buy things they want and
need, down one point from last week. The best was 57 percent Jan. 16, 2000. The worst was 20
percent in fall 1990.
The ABCNEWS/Money magazine Consumer Comfort Index represents a rolling average based on
telephone interviews with about 1,000 adults nationwide each month. This week's results are based
on 1,034 interviews in the month ending Oct. 28 and have an error margin of plus or minus three
percentage points. Field work was done by ICR-International Communications Research of Media,
The ABCNEWS/Money index is derived as follows: The negative response to each index question is
subtracted from the positive response to that question. The three resulting numbers are then added
and divided by three. The index can range from +100 (everyone positive on all three measures) to -
100 (all negative on all three measures). The survey began in December 1985.
Previous ABCNEWS polls can be found in our Poll Vault.