Gallup Says Consumer Confidence Is Actually Falling Among Middle and Lower Income Groups
After two months of good job news for George W. Bush, one would think that consumer confidence would be on a gradual upswing. However, according to Gallup, confidence is actually falling among middle and lower income groups. The two major reasons are concerns over factors that are just now registering on the radar screens of many consumers: rising prices and rising interest rates. No doubt led by spiraling gas prices, steadily increasing food costs, and increases in mortgage rates, the middle and lower income groups are much more pessimistic than the upper income groups according to Gallup.
Sure, the Bush supporters will say that it is the media's fault for reporting too much negative news on the economy, or the Democratic candidates' fault for talking down the economy. But we're talking kitchen table issues here, not some pie in the sky sociology/communication studies theory. People either encounter rising prices or rising interest rates or they don't. They either lose their jobs or they don't.
The truth is that the current economy is great for those who have a job, those who have health care, and for those who have a house with equity. For anyone laid off in the last three years, the odds are not good that they will be rehired back at the income level they were at, assuming they can find solid full-time work. Couple that with gas prices that will be going up through the summer and a mortgage financing market that is pushing people out of home ownership or refinancing weekly and you see whole segments of the population that may not be able to participate in the recovery.
Some of these poll numbers cannot be so easily dismissed if you see other similar indicators. Rasmussen also shows in its Daily Tracking poll released this morning that consumer confidence and investor confidence are going down. It can be argued that world events cast a pall over consumer and investor confidence, and no doubt this is true. For this mindset to change however world events would have to improve and concerns over rising prices and interest rates would have to subside. How likely is that to happen?