I’m OK, You’re Not

Many polls ask people to say what shape their finances are in. There’s been less effort to learn how well or poorly people think they’ve been coping with the economy. An Allstate/National Journal survey is a useful exception.

One of its questions asked respondents how good a job they’re doing “of managing the economic and financial opportunities and risks you face.” A majority said they’re doing an “excellent” (11 percent) or “good” job (45 percent). Thirty-eight percent rated their own performance as “fair,” while 5 percent called it “poor.” (The rest declined to answer.)

And how do respondents to the poll (fielded last month by research firm FD) feel Americans in general have done at dealing with today’s economic challenges? Not nearly as well! Just over one in 10 believe “most Americans” are doing an excellent (1 percent) or good (11 percent) job of it. Fifty-four percent think most are doing a fair job, and 30 percent think they’re doing a poor job. Even as they forgo other luxuries, people aren’t giving up the pleasure of feeling superior to their fellow man.