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As Nation Approaches Fiscal Cliff, the Benchmark December 2012 Fiscal Confidence Index, Modeled after the Consumer Confidence Index, is 52 (100 is Neutral), Indicating Strongly Negative Public Sentiment
Survey Finds 79% of Respondents Concerned About the Fiscal Cliff
NEW YORK — The Peter G. Peterson Foundation today released the first edition of the Fiscal Confidence Index, a new, monthly measure of public attitudes about the nation’s long-term debt and the efforts elected leaders are making to address the debt.
The benchmark December 2012 Fiscal Confidence Index, modeled after the Consumer Confidence Index, is 52 (100 is neutral), indicating strongly negative public sentiment about America’s fiscal situation and an urgency for more effective action to deal with the debt.
The Fiscal Confidence Index measures public opinion about the national debt by asking six questions in three key areas:
The survey results from these three areas are weighted equally and averaged to produce the Fiscal Confidence Index value. The Fiscal Confidence Index, like the Consumer Confidence Index, is indexed on a scale of 0 to 200, with a neutral midpoint of 100. A reading above 100 indicates positive sentiment. A reading below 100 indicates negative sentiment.
"The Peterson Foundation is launching the Fiscal Confidence Index to provide a benchmark of public opinion about America’s fiscal health and progress toward a more fiscally responsible future," said Michael A. Peterson, President of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation. "The Fiscal Confidence Index is an important indicator of the attitudes of the American people on fiscal issues."
"As America edges closer to the fiscal cliff, the inaugural Fiscal Confidence Index makes clear that Americans have a sense of urgency about our long-term debt and want leaders to take action," said Peter G. Peterson, Chairman of the Peterson Foundation. "America's fiscal path is directly connected to the economic health and vitality of the country. The decisions we make over the next several months could impact American prosperity for a generation."
Fiscal Confidence Index Key Data Points:
Strong Concern about the Fiscal Cliff
As negotiations to avoid the fiscal cliff reach a critical juncture, the Peterson Foundation also polled Americans on their concern about the fiscal cliff, personal willingness to make sacrifices to reduce the national debt, and the urgency of addressing long-term debt and improving the economy.
The Peter G. Peterson Foundation commissioned a poll by the Global Strategy Group to survey public opinion on the national debt. The nationwide poll included 1,003 U.S. registered voters, surveyed by telephone between November 26 and December 3, 2012. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.1%. The poll examined voters’ opinions on the national debt, political leadership, and America’s fiscal and economic health.
Detailed poll results can be found online at: www.pgpf.org/what-we-are-doing/education-and-awareness/fiscal-confidence-index
About the Peter G. Peterson Foundation
The Peter G. Peterson Foundation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization established by Pete Peterson — businessman, philanthropist, and former U.S. Secretary of Commerce. The Foundation is dedicated to increasing public awareness of the nature and urgency of key long-term fiscal challenges threatening America's future and to accelerating action on them. To address these challenges successfully, we work to bring Americans together to find and implement sensible, long-term solutions that transcend age, party lines and ideological divides in order to achieve real results. To learn more, please visit www.PGPF.org.
APPENDIX: Fiscal Confidence Index Methodology and Questions
Thinking about our national debt over the last few years, would you say your level of concern has increased or decreased?
◊ Is that a lot or just a little?
|Increased a lot||51%|
|Increased a little||25%|
|Decreased a little||7%|
|Decreased a lot||3%|
When it comes to addressing our national debt, would you say things in the United States are heading in the right direction or do you think things are off on the wrong track?
◊ Do you feel that way strongly or just somewhat?
|RIGHT DIRECTION (NET)||39%|
|WRONG TRACK (NET)||51%|
Some people say that addressing the national debt should be among the President and Congress' top 3 priorities. Do you agree or disagree?
◊ Do you feel that way strongly or just somewhat?
And when it comes to our national debt, do you think it is an issue that the President and Congress should spend more time addressing or less time addressing?
◊ Would you say a lot (more or less) time or just a little?
|A lot more time||66%|
|A little more time||20%|
|A little less time||5%|
|A lot less time||1%|
|(The same amount of time)||4%|
|MORE TIME (NET)||87%|
|LESS TIME (NET)||7%|
And thinking about our national debt over the next few years, do you expect the problem to get better or worse?
◊ Is that much (better or worse) or just somewhat (better or worse)?
And when it comes to our national debt, are you optimistic or pessimistic that the United States will be able to make progress on our national debt over the next few years?
◊ Would you say you are very (optimistic or pessimistic) or just somewhat?