One thing is still true about Americans: they’re optimists.
A Reuters/Zogby poll finds that Americans, despite the extreme volatility and record highs in recent oil prices, believe the worst for oil prices is already over for 2008:
The poll of 1,089 likely voters found that just under 13 per cent thought gasoline prices would rise a lot between now and the end of the year. About one quarter thought prices would rise a little, while one in three thought they would drop a little and 18 per cent said they would stay about the same.
The survey was conducted August 14-16, when oil prices had come down some $30 from a July 11 peak above $147 per barrel, and the national average price for a gallon of gasoline fell back below the psychologically significant $4 mark.
This (somewhat) sunny forecast isn’t necessarily a good thing though. If people aren’t anticipating (or preparing for) another rise in oil prices, old habits might not be broken and people may not save money for that rainy day fund. Also, Goldman thinks Americans are hallucinating, and that oil’s going right back to $150.
Americans, however, appear to be a tad less optimistic about housing:
Of those polled, two-thirds thought housing prices in their area would stay about the same or fall in the next year.
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