The Washington Post-ABC News Consumer Comfort Index Survey

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The Washington Post
Tuesday, January 11, 2005; 1:29 PM

The Washington Post-ABC News Consumer Comfort Index (CCI) is a rolling average based on telephone interviews with 1,000 randomly selected adults nationwide conducted over the previous four-week period. New data is released every Tuesday at 5 p.m.

The index is based on three core questions. These questions ask respondents to rate the condition of the national economy, the state of their personal finances and whether now is a good time to buy things. Margin of sampling error for the results of each of the component questions is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

The index is computed by subtracting the negative response to each question from the positive response. The three resulting numbers are then averaged. The scale can range from +100 (if every respondent gave positive responses to each of the three questions) to -100 (if all respondents expressed consistently negative views.) In practice, over its 19-year history it has ranged from a high of 38 in January 2000 to a low of -50 in February 1992.

ABC News began conducting this measure of consumer attitudes in December 1985. The Post replaced Money magazine as co-sponsor of the index in January 2005.

Interviewing for the index is conducted by International Communications Research of Media, Pa. Questions about the CCI can be addressed to polls@washpost.com.

Consumer Comfort Index Questions

The three core questions asked of survey respondents are:

Q: Would you describe the state of the nation's economy these days as excellent, good, not so good, or poor?

Q: Would you describe the state of your own personal finances these days as excellent, good, not so good, or poor?

Q: Considering the cost of things today and your own personal finances, would you say now is an excellent time, a good time, not so good a time, or a poor time to buy the things you want and need?


© 2005 The Washington Post Company

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