Idahoans feel pretty good about the U.S. economy and their personal financial stability, a recent Idaho Politics Weekly poll shows.
But the poll was conducted before the U.S. financial markets fell so sharply at year’s end. Optimism could have declined since then. The Dan Jones & Associates survey was conducted in early October.
Here are some of the interesting results:
-- Asked what will happen to their own personal incomes over the next 12 months, 28 percent said their paychecks will increase by at least 5 percent. That would be above the inflation rate.
-- 25 percent, or a quarter of Idahoans said their income would grow by at 10 percent. That is a pretty healthy increase.
-- 17 percent said their paychecks would go up by 3 percent; 12 percent said their income would grow by 15 percent; and 11 percent said their income would grow by just 2 percent.
-- Few thought their household incomes would actually decrease. Only 7 percent said their pay would drop by 20 percent, while only 5 percent said their pay would drop by 10 percent. All others saw no drop in income, or a slight decrease.
-- 54 percent said that if they invested $1,000 in their 401k retirement fund, the money would grow over the next year. But remember, the poll was taken before stocks fell so abruptly.
-- 22 percent foresaw bad times coming in the markets and said their 401k would drop in value over the next year.
-- And 24 percent said it would stay about the same.
-- The U.S. economy, separate from the markets, is still doing very well, with growth up and unemployment low.
The poll found that 48 percent said the economy will continue to improve, 24 percent said it would take a dip, while 28 percent said it would stay about the same.
Some 29 percent said their household incomes will grow greater than inflation over the next two years, meaning they would be doing better overall, even with inflation.
-- But 42 percent said no – inflation would eat away at their buying power over the next two years.
-- 28 percent said they would stay even with inflation.
And, finally, 44 percent said they believe when the time comes they will be able to retire and still keep their standard of living.
-- 36 percent said that wouldn’t happen – they would have to cut back on how they live at retirement.
-- And 20 percent said they didn’t know what would happen at their retirement.
Pollsters surveyed 611 adults from September 26 to October 8. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.8 percent.