These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,176 adults surveyed online
Perhaps more notably, fewer Americans than at any point since
Americans were sharply divided on this issue when examined through the lens of metropolitan status; those living in urban regions were far more likely to anticipate the economy improving (45%) than getting worse (24%) in 2013, while the opposite was true among those in rural areas (52% get worse, 23% improve). Suburban Americans were divided fairly evenly between expecting the economy to improve (32%), stay the same (35%) and get worse (34%).
However, while the fiscal cliff and other external factors might be concerning Americans, a strong majority still saw the weight of responsibility for their financial well-being as resting on their own shoulders, with the highest percentage by a considerable margin perceiving themselves as "Extremely" or "Very" responsible for how financially secure they will feel in 2013 (76%); also of note is that this perspective was consistent across both generational and gender lines. While the majority also indicated this across all metro statuses, it is worth noting that rural Americans (79%) were more likely to do so than those in urban areas (71%).
Nearly half of Americans also indicated perceiving
Perceived responsibility was higher among older Americans for both
Men were more likely than women to rate the President (49% and 42%, respectively) and
Perceived responsibility ratings for "Your employer" (33%), "Wall Street" (30%) and "Large corporations" (26%) were all down from 2008 findings (44%, 40% and 37%, respectively).
Ways and Means
Taking responsibility for their financial well-being is one thing – but what are Americans specifically willing to do in order to ensure their 2013 will find them in the black?
Nearly half (45%) anticipated cutting back on spending in 2013, four in ten (40%) anticipated paying down their level of debt and over one-third (37%) were planning on saving more in the year ahead. Overall, more than three-fourths (77%) of Americans indicated they would be making at least one change in 2013 in regards to their finances.
In comparison to the prior December, financial plans for the coming year were largely stable, though there were small increases for "Save more for retirement" (16% 2011 vs. 20% 2012), "Undertake home improvements that increase the value of my home" (11% and 14%, respectively) and "Invest in less risky investments" (5% and 8%, respectively).
However, when looking back as far as 2008, there were several major drops – these included "Cut back on my household spending" (55% 2008 vs. 45% 2012), "get rid of one or more credit cards" (24% and 17%, respectively), "Pay down my level of debt" (45% and 40%, respectively) and "Save more in the year ahead" (42% and 37%, respectively).