Americans’ views of economy worsening as gas prices rise: Gallup

The American public’s views of the economy are declining as gas prices rise, according to a Gallup poll released Tuesday.

Two-thirds of Americans surveyed in the poll conducted earlier this month said that gas prices are causing a moderate or severe financial hardship on their household. That figure marks an increase of 15 percentage points from the 52 percent who said the same in April and is among the highest Gallup has found when posing the question during periods of gas price increases since 2000.

Meanwhile, Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index — a summary of Americans’ ratings of current economic conditions and outlook for the economy’s future — dropped 13 points from last month to -58. The index ranges from 100, if all respondents describe the economy positively, to –100, if all respondents describe the economy negatively.

The index’s current score is the lowest since February 2009, when the country was still experiencing the Great Recession. The all-time low was -72, recorded in October 2008.

The index’s two aspects both rising in the past month, with the percentage of Americans surveyed calling the economy “poor” rising eight points to 54 percent and the percentage saying it is getting worse rising seven points to 85 percent.

The average national price of gas was about $4.88 per gallon as of Tuesday, a slight drop from the record high of just above $5 recorded earlier this month, according to the American Automobile Association.

President Biden announced his support for Congress to enact a three-month federal gas tax holiday during the summer to reduce the financial burden on drivers last week, but the proposal has lacked enthusiastic support from many members of Congress. Biden also called on states to temporarily lift their gas taxes.

The poll found that those making a lower income were much more likely to report a more severe hardship resulting from gas prices.

Eight out of 10 surveyed adults in households earning less than $40,000 said gas prices have caused a financial hardship, and four out of 10 described it as severe. Almost three-quarters of respondents from households earning between $40,000 and $99,999 reported a hardship, though only 20 percent called it severe.

Half of respondents from households earning more than $100,000 reported a hardship, but only 12 percent called it severe.

More than 60 percent of respondents said they are driving less this summer because of higher prices, a higher percentage than during earlier periods of gas price increases in 2000, 2001, 2004, 2005 and 2018. Gallup did not poll the question in 2008.

Although 40 percent of adults polled listed an aspect of the economy as the country’s main problem, including inflation and gas prices, the current figure is much lower than during other times in recent history.

More than 70 percent of adults listed the economy as their chief concern during the recession in 2008 and 2009. More than 50 percent also listed it as such for most of the years following the recession, even though economic confidence was much higher during those years it is now.

The noneconomic issue most often named by respondents as the nation’s main problem was the government in general, tied with inflation for the highest number of mentions overall.

Gallup conducted the poll from June 1-20 based on a random sample of 1,015 US adults. The margin of error is 4 percentage points.


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