Bay State Residents Tightening Belts Amid Fears for Economy


Bay State residents are taking a bleak view of the economy, according to a new Suffolk University/Boston Globe poll. By nearly a 2-to-1 margin, Massachusetts residents say they believe the economy will get worse by the end of the year. 

Respondents also said they’re cutting back on dining out (58 percent), travel (61 percent), and driving (49 percent). Yet their spending is up – likely a reflection of higher prices, including at the pumps.

“The poll results suggest Massachusetts residents are feeling strapped and have started hunkering down,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center. “We’re beginning to record some of the shockwaves from the meltdown in financial markets, and it could ripple through local hospitality, travel, and other industries.”

Additional findings:

  • Bay State residents are worried about the safety of their investments, with 45 percent of respondents saying they’re “very concerned” and another 32 percent saying they’re “somewhat concerned.”
  • 75 percent of residents said they feel secure in their jobs, but 59 percent are concerned about being able to pay heating bills.
  • A majority (58 percent) said last spring’s economic stimulus tax rebate check did not help their households, and 56 percent said Congress should not pass another stimulus package.
  • 49 percent said the government should not spend $700 billion to bail out the financial industry, while 29 percent agreed with the proposed salvage plan.
  • 46 percent of respondents said the federal government should provide assistance to homeowners facing foreclosure, while 38 percent opposed such aid.
  • A majority of Bay State residents (63 percent) say the United States should open restricted oil reserves in Alaska and off shore in Florida and California. And 58 percent said restricted oil reserves off the coast of Massachusetts also should be opened.

Boston Globe reports

Coverage of the Suffolk University/Boston Globe poll in the September 27, 2008, issue of the Boston Sunday Globe is available online.

Coverage includes comprehensive charts of the poll results.

For additional coverage of the offshore drilling issue, see the Oct. 1 Boston Globe.

Marginals are available on the Suffolk University Web site.

“We conducted this poll with Suffolk University as part of our comprehensive coverage of the U.S. financial crisis,” said Globe Business Editor Shirley Leung, “We wanted a full picture on how the crisis is affecting households in Massachusetts to complement our coverage of companies and industry sectors.”    

The Suffolk University/Boston Globe poll was conducted from Sept. 22-24 and includes answers from 400 residents across the state. It has a margin of error of +/- 4.9 percent.


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Greg Gatlin

Mariellen Norris