October 26, 2011
View Trend Monitor

Most see bad times ahead for business, economy as a whole

Bay State residents remain pessimistic about the current and future state of the economy, according to the MassPulse poll, a quarterly survey from The MassINC Polling Group that tracks key political and economic trends.  Just 22 percent of Massachusetts residents expect good business conditions in the year ahead, while 62 percent expect bad times.  Looking further ahead, just 22 percent expect the next five years to bring good economic times for the country, while 62 percent say widespread unemployment or depression are more likely.  At a personal and family level, attitudes are similarly pessimistic.  Residents say their family financial situation will either stay the same (54%) or get worse (18%) in the year ahead.

“Views of the economy have stayed pretty dark for the last few months,” said Steve Koczela, President of the MassINC Polling Group.  “Things haven’t moved much since July, and the numbers were significantly depressed even then.”

These issues are among the five contained in the MassINC Polling Group Index of Consumer Sentiment,  released today. Overall, the Index for October is 59.6, little changed from the 59.4 measurement in July, but down from the 73.3 level recorded in January.  Full results are contained in the attached MPG Trend Monitor, which summarizes highlights from the MassPulse poll conducted last week.

Just 35 percent say this is a good time to buy major household items, compared to 48 percent who say it is a bad time, a potentially troubling indicator for retailers ramping up for the holiday season.  Just 25 percent of residents say they are better off financially than a year ago, while 47 percent say they are worse off.  “Consumers are telling us they are nervous both about the micro and the macro level pictures, and not sure now is the right time for a big ticket purchase,” said Koczela who noted the ten point decrease since January in those calling it a good time for major purchases.

In other highlights from the poll:

–    Residents are evenly split over whether they think the state is headed in the right       direction (44%) or off on the wrong track (45%)

–     About a third (32%) of residents say they have a favorable view of Elizabeth Warren,       compared to 14 percent who report an unfavorable view.

–     Scott Brown is seen favorably by 47 percent of residents, and unfavorably by 30 percent.

About the Poll: The MassPulse Quarterly Poll is conducted quarterly among representative samples of 500 Massachusetts residents age 18 and older. The poll is conducted in English and Spanish among both cell phone and landline households. This iteration of the survey was conducted from October 19-23, 2011. The margin of sampling error is 4.4%.

About the MassINC Polling Group: The MassINC Polling Group (MPG) is an independent, non-partisan organization providing public opinion research and analysis to public, private, and social sector clients. MPG is a full service opinion polling operation offering strategic consultation, a wide-ranging suite of analytical products, and high-level communication and outreach planning. For more information visit