Poll: Tax deal did not boost confidence

Jan. 8, 2013 at 4:15 PM
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PRINCETON, N.J., Jan. 8 (UPI) -- The late save from the so-called fiscal cliff didn't boost U.S. consumer confidence, survey firm Gallup said Tuesday.

For the week ending Sunday, Gallup said its Economic Confidence Index was at minus 21, little changed from the previous week, when the index rested at minus 22.

Gallup said the numbers indicated consumer confidence, at a four-year high in November, did not worsen until news of the budget impasse in Washington accelerated in December.

The fiscal cliff was averted at the 11th hour by a federal tax deal signed into law Jan. 2. Until then, a default budget that included tax hikes across the income spectrum and spending cuts -- totaling hundreds of billions of dollars when added together -- was said to have the potential to drop the U.S. economy back into a second recession.

The results of the default budget, economists said, would have been like throwing the economy off a cliff, hence the nickname attributed to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.

While the confidence index held close to steady, the Gallup Outlook Index, measuring confidence in the economy's future, dropped sharply from minus 1 in early November to minus 18 in the recent poll.

In the most recent poll, 39 percent of respondents indicated the economy was getting better, while 57 percent indicated it was getting worse, Gallup said.

The current survey was conducted daily from Dec. 31 through Sunday. With a sample group of 2,043 surveys, Gallup said with a 95 percent certainty, the results have a margin of error of plus and minus 3 percentage points.

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