The government shutdown and looming debate over the debt ceiling have taken a major toll on the public’s confidence in the economy, bringing it to the lowest levels since the 2008 financial crisis, according to a new Gallup poll
The survey of 3,580 adults released Tuesday, showed that Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index tumbled 12 points between Sept. 30 and Oct. 6, the biggest weekly decline since Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy in September 2008 and the index plunged 15 points.
The index measures Americans’ assessments of current economic conditions and their perceptions of whether the economy is getting better or worse.
It has plunged by 19 points since the middle of September and is now at -34, the lowest level since late December 2011.
The public's outlook is not expected to improve soon, according to USA Today
, which noted earlier this week that the government shutdown, now in its second week, would likely continue through the Oct. 17 deadline for raising the national debt limit.
The continuing standoff over the budget, according to the Gallup survey, is expected to shake the public's confidence ever further, just as it did in July 2011 when lawmakers and the president engaged in a round of partisan wrangling over whether to increase the nation's borrowing authority. The confidence index fell 8 points during that debate.
"The current budget debate and government shutdown clearly show that partisan brinksmanship and the uncertainty it causes on Wall Street can negatively affect consumer confidence," Gallup officials said Tuesday, as they released the latest survey findings.
"Congress’ inability to reach a compromise to end the government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling could negatively affect U.S. stock prices, America’s credit rating, and, ultimately, the nation’s economic recovery."
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