Half Full or Half Empty, At Least the Glass Is Intact takes

Let us salute the 13 percent of respondents to an ABC News/Money poll last month who said the economy is getting better. Their sunny dispositions will stand them in good stead if they find themselves selling apples on street corners in the months ahead. Those of you sunk in gloom about the prospects of recession will be surprised (if not baffled) to learn that just 49 percent of this poll’s respondents said the economy is getting worse. And 41 percent said it’s an “excellent or good time to buy things they want and need”—down from the high of 57 percent set in January 2000, but still not a number to sneeze at. Leaving aside the question of how things might change, a Los Angeles Times poll last month found 64 percent of people saying the economy is doing well. Meanwhile, a Washington Post/ABC News survey (excerpted in the chart below) found a majority of Americans unscathed by the decline of stock prices. Asked whether the stock-market’s tumble is evidence of problems in the underlying economy or “mostly a Wall Street problem,” 52 percent adopted the former opinion and 42 percent subscribed to the latter.