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Gallup Poll: Americans Generally Satisfied with Economy

Aired June 9, 2000 - 2:40 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: Wall Street, thus far, bit of a mixed bag. The Nasdaq is up, the Dow Jones industrial average is down. However, confidence in the job market and in the economy in general is reflected in the latest Gallup poll. It finds the public in general is satisfied with the economy despite Internet layoffs and other concerns out there.

Joining us to explore that, Frank Newport, editor-in-chief, the Gallup Poll, live in Princeton -- hey, Frank.

FRANK NEWPORT, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, GALLUP POLL: Yes indeed, Bill, the American public as of Wednesday night of this week, when we just finished this interviewing, is very, very positive. They're maintaining those very positive spirits despite, as you say, the turmoil to a degree in the stock market and some other things that you were just talking about.

Now let's show you a very basic measure that we take back a couple of years. "How would do you rate the economy today: good or bad?" And we've shown you it was 69 percent a couple of years ago. It's been up in '98, and you can see now just as of a night or two ago maintaining that very high peak -- 85 percent of Americans tell us they rate the economic conditions as good -- very, very high numbers.

Let's take it back a little further for a different question here. This was the direction of the economy: "Is the U.S. economy in the right direction or the wrong direction right now?" And even as recently as 1996, the summer when Bill Clinton was seeking reelection, you can see those numbers were quite a bit closer. This top line represents the right direction. And now when we just finished this week, 74 percent of Americans now saying the economy still, as of Wednesday night, moving in the right direction.

Now a personal question, we said: "How would you rate your own worry about your economic situation?" You can see from 1993, the numbers are really down, as we might imagine. The percent here worried went from 35 down to 17. Look over here, the percent who are not worried is now this yellow bar here. Up to 56 percent of Americans say they are not worried about their personal situation -- again, we think on relative basis, pretty positive numbers.

One possible fly in the ointment though is interest rates. Just asked a couple of nights ago: "Have you noticed those high interest rates?" Three quarters have. The more important statistic here, Bill, about a third of Americans say that they have affected their decisions on things like loans and major purchases. This could have, obviously, some kind of impact in the months ahead. That's where the U.S. population stands -- Bill, back to you.

HEMMER: All right, Frank, we should know more about that "I" word end of this month too. Frank Newport, live in Princeton.

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