Poll shows worries about finances Survey shows 4 in 10 are worse off under Bush

February 20, 1992|By Rick Gladstone | Rick Gladstone,AP Business Writer

NEW YORK (AP) -- Nearly four in 10 Americans believe their personal finances have worsened under President Bush, Money magazine said in a poll released today.

The seventh annual "Americans & Their Money" poll also found that one in five Americans, when surveyed late last year, believed the country was in the beginning of a depression.

Money further found that 30 percent of all consumers will continue to spend less money after the economic downturn ends. The finding suggested that consumer spending, a critical source of economic growth, will remain weak for the foreseeable future.

"The gloom has deepened," Frank Lalli, managing editor of the personal finance monthly, said at a news conference where the results were released. "There's something deeply disturbing going on out there."

Money's poll was released two days after New Hampshire voters showed a big dissatisfaction with Mr. Bush's economic policies in the first presidential primary, where conservative rival Patrick J. Buchanan garnered nearly 40 percent of the Republican vote.

The poll's results reflected profound anxieties about financial security and faith in the economy that weren't evident in the previous Money polls. They seemed to substantiate other evidence that Americans are becoming more frugal and increasingly alarmed that their living standards are falling.

Fifty-eight percent of respondents, for example, believed the inflation rate will rise this year, while 55 percent expect the unemployment rate to rise.

Sixty percent of respondents, asked what they'd do with a $10,000 windfall, said they'd save the money or use it to pay off debt. Less then 1 percent said they'd splurge on themselves.

Asked what they would have done differently with their money during the 1980s economic growth years, 51 percent said they would have borrowed less, two-thirds said they would have saved more and 54 percent said they would have invested more.

"Americans & Their Money" is based on results from two 1991 surveys conducted for the magazine by Willard & Shullman, a Greenwich, Conn., research firm. The first survey, completed in August, queried 1,855 randomly selected adults by mail as well as 841 Money subscribers. The second survey was a follow-up telephone poll of 1,000 adults completed in October.

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