National Poll: Perceived Personal Standard of Living Drops Drastically

News Story:

55.8% of Americans suggest their current economic standard of living is declining, according to a national poll conducted by the Sacred Heart University Polling Institute. That number is up from 23.9% according to a 2006 SHU Poll.

And today, only 38.0% of Americans suggest their current economic standard of living is improving, which is drastically down from 71.7% reported in the 2006 SHU Poll.

“Clearly, the crisis in the credit markets, coupled with significant increases in not just gas but also food has combined to make the average American feel poorer and pessimistic about the future,” stated John Gerlach, senior business executive in residence and associate professor in the John F. Welch College of Business at SHU.

Among the top 10 national problems or issues cited by survey respondents, seven are economic concerns.

What national problems or issues are you most concerned about today? (Multiple responses were accepted.)

 

March 2008

Poor economy

   46.3%

War in Iraq

34.1

Healthcare costs

18.3

High gas prices

16.3

High unemployment rate

  6.1

Immigration issues

  6.0

Cost of living

  6.0

Safety of U.S.

  3.9

Taxes are too high

  3.9

Price of oil

  3.6

Presidential race

  3.5

Government corruption

  3.4

Environment deteriorating

  3.1

Improving education

  3.1

Terrorism

  3.0

 

“Given growing concerns over poor economy, healthcare costs, high gas and oil prices, and cost of living, it’s not surprising to see 76.5% of Americans confidently tell us that the U.S. is currently in a recession,” according to Jerry C. Lindsley, director of the Sacred Heart University Polling Institute.  He added, “Unfortunately, only 31.4% see the coming tax rebate helping to improve the U.S. economy.”

According to Gerlach, “Consumer spending accounts for about 70% of our GDP, so it is little wonder that the economy slowed to a 0.6% increase in the fourth quarter of 2007 and is likely to show a decline in the current quarter. A recession is technically two successive quarters of negative GDP growth, but there is little doubt that it is only a matter of time before that occurs.”

“The prospect of further problems in the credit markets and increased job losses only adds to the negative feelings by most Americans, and as has been noted by more than one observer, the tax rebate will pay for a decent dinner in most cases and not much more,” he said.

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EXPERTS AVAILABLE FOR COMMENT

  • John Gerlach, senior business executive in residence and associate professor in the John F. Welch College of Business, Sacred Heart University 
  • Jerry Lindsley, director, Sacred Heart University Polling Institute

To speak with these experts, please contact Funda Alp at 203-396-8241 or alpf@sacredheart.edu.

How the Poll Was Conducted
The Sacred Heart University Polling Institute completed 800 interviews with residents nationwide between March 3-15, 2008. The sample was generated proportional to population contribution in all 50 states. Statistically, a sample of 800 completed telephone interviews represents a margin for error of +/-3.5% at a 95% confidence level.