Public: What? Me worry?

Wall Street suffered its second-worst, one-day drop ever. Not that most Americans care.

The Pew Research Center reports today the public is worried, but not panicking over the economy.

But viewed here from the cheap seats, this is the bombshell:


There has been no decline in people’s perceptions of their own financial situations. Looking ahead to next year, Americans are more confident than they were in July about an improvement in the national economy and in their own personal finances

The Pew experts say this doesn’t mean the public has been spared the effects of the economic meltdown, with many people saying they’re learning to live with less. But a review of the numbers shows almost no difference in how people viewed their personal finance situation in October, compared to July.

The survey also says we’re more optimistic about the economy than we were in 2004, and more people have confidence in the government to fix problems. The #1 cause of the the financial crisis, the survey said, is too many people taking on debt and comparatively view said it was because of lack of oversight.

There’s also been no change from July in how people view the presidential candidates’ ability to handle economic issues.

  • brian

    I guess this has been my personal feeling too. The economic slowdown hasn’t really affected me much.

    I’m young enough that my IRA/401k balance will go up again before I retire, probably multiple times (unless everything totally collapses). My job is pretty stable. I was already worried about saving and within my means. I don’t have a mortgage or credit-card debt.

    I wouldn’t say that I’m more optimistic about the economy though… I guess I’m more optimistic than I was two weeks ago, but not 4 years ago.

  • Peter A

    I think the general public is so far removed from all the craziness happening on WallStreet and in Paulsen/Bernanke world that the public is oblivious.

    As for me I’ve been watching this for the last few years and felt like we were headed for a huge collapse. I’m afraid we aren’t even close to the “bottom” yet.

  • sm

    If this is an “economic Pearl Harbor”, would this reaction be comparable to the reaction of people facing sudden wartime change? It’s hardly had time to sink in. You know your life is going to change but it’s not clear how yet.

    One pundit used the analogy of an eathquake. We’re still shaking and getting followup trembling. The aftermath is yet to be seen.

  • Bob Collins

    That’s true, but the economy has been slowing pretty steadily for a few years before falling completely off the cliff. You’d expect to see some increase in concern rather than a jump in optimism.