Suffolk/Globe Poll: Mass. Residents Still Hunkering Down

Massachusetts residents say an economic rebound is under way, but they remain hunkered down, cautious about spending and skeptical about the federal stimulus package, according to the latest Suffolk University/Boston Globe poll.

While 60 percent of voters polled said they believe an economic upturn has begun, the poll underscores the likelihood of a slow and difficult recovery, with 58 percent expecting that it will take two to three years or more for the economy to bounce back.

"Realistic" spending choices

“People realize that the profound damage to the economy will require a long time to heal,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center. “Although hopeful that an economic recovery is under way, people are realistic about the choices they must make day-to-day as well as long term. They are eating at home more, traveling less, giving less to charity, and say they'll have to work longer to retire.”

And while 39 percent said they have spent less in the past six months, the majority (60 percent) said their spending has been unaffected by the state sales tax increase.

Leadership assessment

The poll looks at voters’ perspectives on the federal stimulus package – 80 percent said it has made no difference to their households – and on the effectiveness of leadership at the state and national levels.

“Since the financial crisis began, The Boston Globe and Suffolk University have been committed to tracking the impact of this historic economic downturn on Massachusetts residents,” said Globe business editor Shirley Leung. “What they’ve told us has given our readers insight into what is happening in the economy and what to expect in the future.”

Complete report

The full content of the Suffolk University/Boston Globe poll appears in the Oct. 19, 2009, issue of the Globe and is available online. The Suffolk University Political Research Center offers 204 pages of cross-tabs.

The Suffolk University/Boston Globe poll was conducted Oct. 11-13 and includes answers from 400 residents across the state. It has a margin of error of +/- 4.9 percent