By Nathalie Voit

Inflation continues to fuel low confidence in the economy for many Americans, Gallup said in its latest poll.

According to Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index (ECI), which rates Americans’ views on the economy on a scale of -100 to 100, an overwhelming majority of U.S. adults rate current economic conditions as fair or poor (80%). One in five participants described conditions as excellent or good (20%). More than three-quarters of respondents believe the economy is getting worse (76%).

The resulting ECI score of -39 signals declining confidence in the economy as consumers continue to grapple with the highest inflation levels since 1981. The dismal reading is unchanged from last month but well above the record low of -72 reported during the Great Recession. According to Gallup, the ECI has been in negative territory since last summer.

The survey also found that about 4 in 10 Americans (39%) name economic issues as a leading source of concern. This includes 17% of respondents who cite inflation or the high cost of living as the most important problem facing the nation, 12% who mention the economy in general, and 6% who name fuel prices.

Regarding non-economic issues, the government or poor leadership was cited by 20% of participants as the top problem facing the nation, followed by immigration (7%) and the ongoing conflict with Russia (5%). Just four percent of participants named the coronavirus as the country’s preeminent challenge, down from 13% in February. The issue has consistently been rated as one of the country’s top problems since 2020, Gallup said.

Republicans were more likely than Democrats to regard economic issues (42% vs. 33%) and inflation specifically (20% vs. 14%) as the nation’s foremost challenge. Conservatives were also more likely than liberals to cite the government or poor leadership (24% vs. 17%) and illegal immigration (12% vs. 3%) as top concerns. 

“Economic confidence remains sharply low but still well above readings during the Great Recession,” Gallup said in the survey. “However, if inflation continues to rise and gas prices remain elevated heading into the summer months, economic confidence in the U.S. may well fall further.”

The Gallup survey was conducted between April 1 and 19.