Poll: Confidence in Stock Market Increases

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The public’s confidence in the United States stock market is greater today than earlier in the year, and expectations for the future of the market remain mostly positive.

The latest FOX News poll finds that a majority (60 percent) is at least somewhat confident in the U.S. stock market, up from 46 percent six months ago. Today, 17 percent say they are “very” and 43 percent are “somewhat” confident in the market, with 21 percent “not very” and 12 percent “not at all” confident.

The national poll, conducted October 28-29 by Opinion Dynamics Corporation (search), also shows that expectations today are unchanged from earlier in the year. Just under half of Americans (46 percent) today think the stock market will be higher a year from now — similar to the 47 percent who thought so in March. Currently only seven percent think the market will be lower next year and 35 percent think it will be about the same as it is now.

The poll was completed prior to the government releasing information that showed the country’s economy experienced sharp growth in the third quarter.

Just over half (52 percent) of the public think home values will be higher a year from now, 34 percent say they will be about the same as they are now and 10 percent say home values will be lower next year.

"People are clearly getting over some of the economic trauma they've experienced the last few years," comments Opinion Dynamics President John Gorman (search). "However, as many observers have pointed out, one of the keys to consumer confidence is a sense that jobs are available. A rising job market is going to be needed to cement the sense of recovery."

At least some of the growth and recovery has been spurred by consumer spending, but this may be reaching its limit. When asked what they would do with an extra $500 in cash, a 39 percent plurality says, “pay bills.”

Is Congress Overpaid?

Recently members of Congress voted to give themselves a pay raise, bringing their current $154,700 salaries up to $158,000 next year. When asked to estimate the annual salary for members of Congress, about half of Americans (45 percent) think it is less than $150,000, with the average amount suggested by respondents around $138,000.

A feisty 11 percent spontaneously reply that the salary for members of Congress is “too much” instead of suggesting an actual dollar amount.

Polling was conducted by telephone October 28-29, 2003 in the evenings. The sample is 900 registered voters nationwide with a margin of error of ±3 percentage points.

1. If you were given $500, what would you do with the extra cash? Would you:

2. How confident are you in the U.S. stock market?
SCALE: 1. Very confident 2. Somewhat confident 3. Not very confident 4. Not at all confident 5. (Not sure)

3. A year from now, do you think the stock market will be higher, lower or about the same as it is now?
SCALE: 1. Higher 2. Lower 3. The same 4. (Not sure)

4. A year from now, do you think home values will be higher, lower or about the same as they are now?
SCALE: 1. Higher 2. Lower 3. The same 4. (Not sure)

5. About how much do you think the annual salary is for a member of the U.S. Congress?

Salary for Members of Congress 
Current   = $154,700
Next year = $158,000

6. Of the following two events from last week, which one do you think is more outrageous?