AMERICANS REMAIN OPTIMISTIC ABOUT THE ECONOMY IN THE LONG-TERM DESPITE CURRENT FINANCIAL CRISIS, ACCORDING TO A NEW CNBC/PORTFOLIO.COM ‘WEALTH IN AMERICA’ REPORT
Healthcare and Energy Prices Remain Two Issues Americans Want at the Top of the Next Administration's Agenda
ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J., Sept. 25, 2008--Even though a vast majority of Americans-93%¾describe the country's current economic conditions as "poor to fair," two in three Americans are both pessimistic about the economy today and optimistic about the economy for the future, according to the latest CNBC/Portfolio.com Wealth in America Survey.
The survey was conducted in the field twice; once between September 10-12, before the collapse of Lehman Bros and AIG, and again from September 18-21, after the financial crisis worsened and the administration unveiled its bailout or restructuring plan.
Over the course of the next year, 42% of respondents said the economy will get better (compared with 28% just two weeks ago and 21% in June), and 23% said the economy will get worse (compared with 25% two weeks ago and 43% in June).
According to the survey, 38% of respondents believe the Democratic Party would do a better job at promoting polices that could have a positive effect on Americans' personal financial situation. In contrast, 28% believe the Republicans would do a better job.
And among the presidential nominees, 36% believe Democratic candidate Barack Obama is best able to deal with the country's economic problems and 27% believe Republican candidate John McCain is best.
And what should the next President focus on? While the Wall Street crisis has spilled onto Main Street, healthcare (26%) and energy prices (25%) are two issues that Americans want at the top of the next administration's agenda.
Respondents to the CNBC/Portfolio.com Wealth in America Survey said they're expecting higher wages and home prices, along with less inflation.
As Americans head towards the crucial holiday spending season, there are ominous signs for retailers. The survey revealed that consumers plan to spend almost 7% less this year, budgeting $781 a person for holiday shopping instead of $839 last year, but up from $713 in 2006.
And pain at the pump and at the grocery store remain important issues to Americans. Over half of respondents, 52%, said they think the price of energy and gas will affect them personally and their family negatively and 35% said they believe the price of groceries will have a negative effect. Stock market fluctuation was a considerably smaller concern (16%), though it increased dramatically in the past two weeks (from 10%) with the market gyrations vicious market swings of late.
And some sobering news for the high priced coffee and latte chains can be found in the survey. Premium coffee simply isn't selling the way it used to. The percentage of Americans who don't drink premium coffee jumped 11% this year, from 65% to 76% since February.
The full results of the poll will be reported throughout Thursday, September 25, on CNBC by CNBC Senior Correspondent Scott Cohn. Video as well as articles can be seen on CNBC.com and Portfolio.com.
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