economic index may2022


In 2021, with the start of the new administration, we have relaunched our economic index. The Zogby Economic Index combines responses to 10 questions on Americans' views about their leaders (President, Congress), the direction of their country and their personal situations (job security, personal financial situation). Each quarter we survey American voters, and calculate the value of the index relative to the January 2021 results which established the benchmark score of 100. Thus, scores above 100 indicate that the country's mood has improved relative to January 2021 while scores below 100 showing its mood getting worse.

Based on our national survey of 1,100 likely voters, conducted between May 23 and 24 this year, the index currently stands at 88, its lowest point yet. Satisfaction with President Biden has also reached its low point: 41% of likely voters rated his performance as 'excellent' or 'good'. In addition, only 25% gave the same rating to Congress - a drop of two percentage points for the President and six percentage points for Congress since December on the top of already falling numbers. President Biden's numbers continued to erode in two demographic groups that were his strongholds at the start of this survey series in January 2021 - young voters (38% of voters in the 18-29 age group rate his performance as 'excellent' or ''good' compared to 51% in December 2021 and 73% in January 2021) and Hispanics (42% vs. 55% vs. 78%). President's numbers among demographic groups that are perceived as his weak spots appear to have bottomed as they have not changed significantly since the last survey - he is perceived most negatively among voters in the 65+ age group (54% rate it as 'poor') and rural voters (59%). Congress has the worst numbers among older voters (only 8% of survey respondents in the 65+ age group rate its performance as 'excellent' or 'good'), in rural areas (13%) and among Republicans (11%) and independents (13%).

Nearly two-thirds (62%) of respondents think the country is on the wrong track, while only 31% believe it is heading in the right direction - another significant drop (eight points) since December. However, a strong majority (73% 'very proud' and 'fairly proud' combined) remains proud of the United States. This numbers has not changed. Union members are one of the very few demographic groups that feels positive about the country's direction - 60% believe that the U.S is heading in the right direction, compared to only 26% among non-union members. Respondents over 65 are much more likely to feel proud of the United States (80% are at least fairly proud) than those in the 18-29 age group (53%).

The perception of U.S. foreign policy (32% 'excellent and 'good' combined) has remained unchanged over the past five months, but the number of those who perceive economic policy as excellent has dropped another five percentage points, to 28%. Foreign policy continues to be well received among Democrats (58% rate it as 'excellent' or 'good' compared to only 11% Republicans and 25% Independents), the only major demographic group where it exceeds 50%. It is interesting to note that the foreign policy is much better received among urban males (46%) than among urban females (27%, not much different than among rural voters). Numbers are very similar for the U.S. economic policy, including the split between urban males and females - 42% of urban males rate it as 'excellent' or 'good' compared to 26% of urban females.

The number of likely voters who see their own personal financial situation as 'excellent' or 'good' has dropped eight percentage points since December, to 39%, while the number of Americans who feel very or fairly secure in their jobs has dropped two percentage points, to 64%. However, the number of voters (49%) who are fairly or very confident that their children will have a better life than themselves remained unchanged. College educated voters (56%, a five-point drop), large city residents (49%, 10-point drop) and Democrats (52%, six-point drop) are most likely to rate their personal financial situation as either 'excellent' or 'good'; on the other end, rural voters (31%, only one percent drop since the last survey), those in the 18-29 age group (33%, seven-point drop) and non-college educated voters (26%, 10-point drop) are least likely to rate their own financial situation highly. Similar to previous surveys, younger voters are more likely than older ones to think that their children will have a better life than themselves - 65% of respondents in the 30-49 age group are at least fairly confident of this compared to 36% of respondents in the 50-64 age group.

The number of Americans who feel fairly or very safe from threats from abroad has dropped three percentage points since December, to 62%. Similar to the last survey, Democrats (76% feel at least fairly safe from threats from abroad), males (70%, especially urban males at 76%) and large city residents (71%) tend to feel safer than Republicans (51%), female voters (55%) and rural voters (58%).