Americans believe the economy is worsening as the country deals with a surge in COVID-19 infections, according to a new Gallup poll.
A total of 60% of survey respondents said the economy was getting worse and only 37% believed it was improving, Gallup said Friday.
Gallup discovered that economic confidence fell among Republicans and independents, but not among Democrats.
The overall drop in economic confidence coincided with the recent surge of coronavirus infections largely due to the delta variant, Gallup said.
The number of Americans who said COVID-19 was the most important problem facing the U.S. doubled in August.
Gallup's Economic Confidence Index, which summarizes Americans' views of the economy, dropped from -6 to -12, putting it around the same level as in February.
The index remains better than its pandemic low point of -33 in April 2020 but is still well below the +41 Gallup measured right before the pandemic took hold.
The index has a theoretical range of -100 to +100, the former occurring if all Americans rated economic conditions as poor and thought the economy was getting worse, and the latter if all Americans rated conditions as excellent or good and believed the economy was getting better.
The survey's results were announced as it also was learned that growth in U.S. consumer spending slowed in July to a modest increase of 0.3% while inflation over the past 12 months rose to the fastest pace in three decades.
The July increase in spending was down sharply from a 1.1% rise in June, the Commerce Department reported Friday. It was the clearest signal yet that the surge in the delta variant of the coronavirus was having an impact on consumer spending, the driving force in the economy.
On Thursday, Wall Street closed lower — ending a streak of all-time closing highs — on concerns over developments in Afghanistan, while fears of a potential shift in U.S. Federal Reserve policy prompted a broad but shallow sell-off
The report showed that consumer prices over the past 12 months have risen 4.2%, the biggest 12-month gain since a 4.5% increase for the 12 months ending in January 1991.
Gallup surveyed 1,006 adults between Aug. 2-17. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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