Whatever the Rebate Checks Have Stimulated, It Hasn’t Been Consumer Confidence

Those tax-rebate checks have done less for Americans’ mood than for their wallets. A Gallup poll looked at the 45 percent of respondents who’ve already received their rebates, and it found them no cheerier than those who’ve yet to get a check. (Rebates started going into the mail in April, and the last checks are slated to go out next month.)

Among those surveyed who’ve received a check, 16 percent rated the economy as “excellent” or “good,” while 43 percent said it’s “poor.” These answers are nearly identical to those of respondents who’ve yet to get a rebate check, among whom 16 percent said the economy is excellent or good and 44 percent said it’s poor. Along the same lines, 88 percent of rebate recipients said the economy is getting worse, slightly exceeding the 86 percent of non-recipients who said so.

The pattern carries over to respondents’ views of their personal circumstances. Looking at their own finances, 34 percent of rebate recipients agreed that they “worried about money yesterday,” nearly matching the 36 percent of non-recipients who said so.