Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Fewer Americans Feel Good About Financial Situations

Forty-nine percent of Americans are feeling better about their financial situations these days, representing a continuing downturn from the average of 53% who were feeling better in mid-summer. The drop in Americans' positive attitudes about their finances in August occurred just after the congressional wrangling over the Aug. 2 debt ceiling deadline, suggesting that there may be a similarly negative impact from this week's failure of the supercommittee to reach its budget-cutting deadline.
Americans' broader assessment of the U.S. economy also fell at about this same time. The timing of the drop in these economic measures, coinciding as it did with the debt ceiling debate, suggests that Congress' difficulties in reaching a decision on crucial budget and economic matters had an effect on the way Americans look at their financial situations.
Americans this week are hearing news reports that their elected representatives have failed to reach an agreement on cutting $1.2 trillion from the federal budget. Any possible impact of this on Americans' views of their personal financial situations will become evident in the weeks ahead.
A majority of Americans (55%) believe Republicans and Democrats on the U.S. debt "supercommittee" are equally to blame for its inability to reach an agreement.
These results are based on a Nov. 21 Gallup poll, conducted after the committee of six Republicans and six Democrats conceded Monday afternoon it would not be able to reach an agreement by its Nov. 23 deadline. The supercommittee was created as part of the legislation to raise the federal debt limit in August. Because it did not reach an agreement, automatic cuts in defense and entitlement spending will be made in 2013, though Congress is considering its options for preventing those automatic cuts from being made.
A majority of Republicans and independents blame supercommittee members from both parties equally. In contrast, Democrats are most likely to blame Republicans for the failure to reach an agreement.
It is not a surprise that Congressional job approval remains at 13% in November, identical to October and tying the all-time Gallup low on this measure. The 2011 average is on track to be the lowest annual rating of Congress in Gallup's history.

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