POLL: Pessimism Spikes, Confidence Low

Partisan differences remain: The index is +4 among Republicans, but -28 among independents and -29 among Democrats. That gap, however, is usually bigger; it's averaged 53 points this year. The main change is among Republicans, who are at a 2007 low.

Here's a closer look at the three components of the ABC/Post CCI:

NATIONAL ECONOMY -- Thirty-three percent of Americans rate the economy as excellent or good; it was 33 percent last week. The highest was 80 percent on Jan. 16, 2000. The lowest was 7 percent in late 1991 and early 1992.

PERSONAL FINANCES -- Fifty-six percent say their own finances are excellent or good; it was 58 percent last week. The highest was 70 percent last reached in January 2000. The lowest was 42 percent on March 14, 1993.

BUYING CLIMATE -- Thirty-two percent say it's an excellent or good time to buy things; it was 34 percent last week. The highest was 57 percent Jan. 16, 2000. The lowest was 20 percent in fall 1990.

METHODOLOGY -- Interviews for the ABC News/Washington Post Consumer Comfort Index are reported in a four-week rolling average. This week's results are based on telephone interviews among a random national sample of 1,000 adults in the four weeks ending Nov. 18, 2007. The results have a three-point error margin. The expectations question was asked of 500 respondents Nov. 4 - 18; that result has a 4.5-point error margin. Field work by ICR-International Communications Research of Media, Pa.

The index is derived by subtracting the negative response to each index question from the positive response to that question. The three resulting numbers are added and divided by three. The index can range from +100 (everyone positive on all three measures) to -100 (all negative on all three measures). The survey began in December 1985.

Click here for PDF with charts and data table.

Click here for more ABC News polls.

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