Do people think the economy is on the rails to ruin because the economy is horrible or because presidential candidates need us to believe it’s running off the rails?
The question takes on some merit today with a poll that’s out that shows we think dark days are coming.
Only 23 percent of those surveyed in the CNBC All-America Economic Survey describe the economy as either “good” or “excellent”. A third say it’s poor; that’s up a bit from the June survey.
Of course, the economy is an emotional thing. And if we hear it’s bad long enough, it gets bad. That’s how recessions start; enough people say it’s bad that you stop spending money.
That’s why the fact that 32-percent of those surveyed think the economy is going to get worse is troubling. That’s a 6 percent increase. Just 22 percent believe the economy will get better.
That’s the lowest level since 2008, when the economy crashed.
The decline in optimism was fueled by rising concern among some of the most upbeat demographics from previous CNBC polls. For example, the percentage of Democrats who say the economy will improve fell 7 points to just 29 percent. Among those with incomes greater than $100,000, optimism fell a massive 17 points to just 19 percent. The decline among the wealthy suggested that at least part of the rise in pessimism can be linked to the plunge in the stock market.
U.S. growth has also been lackluster, likely fueling the change in attitudes. A weak first quarter was followed by a rebound in the second quarter but another apparent weakening in the third quarter. Job growth has also slowed.
Views on the stock market, not surprisingly, deteriorated as well. Overall, 46 percent of the public say this is a bad time to invest in stocks, a 12-point gain from the June survey. Just a third of the public say it’s a good time invest. Attitudes eroded among the wealthy and those with considerable sums in the stock market as well.
Even though optimism is hard to find in the survey, 40 percent of those surveyed think their wages will go up next year.
Discuss. Are you optimistic or pessimistic about your economic future?