The results come from the January 2012 survey by Ipsos Mendelsohn Affluent Barometer, which studies the lifestyles, spending patterns and media habits of today’s affluent Americans. Ipsos defines affluent adults as those who have household income of $100,000 or more.
The overall outlook about the economy is split almost evenly. Forty-one percent of affluent Americans are pessimistic about the U.S. economy and 38 percent are optimistic, a statistical tie. However, this optimism is still up from fourth-quarter 2011 lows.
Survey respondents were also asked exclusive CNBC questions about private equity firms, which have been put into the spotlight during the U.S. presidential campaign because of Mitt Romney, who once ran Bain Capital.
Only 34 percent of the affluent are “very” or “somewhat” familiar with private equity firms; of those, 46 percent believe private equity firms affect the U.S. economy positively versus 19 percent negatively.