CNN poll: Most consumers delaying purchases

A new CNN poll finds that 62% of respondents are putting off buying big-ticket items. One third are trimming necessities.

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By Paul Steinhauser, CNN Deputy Political Director

What progress is the Obama administration making toward ending the recession?
  • It's succeeding
  • The recovery is too slow
  • It's not helping at all

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A new national poll indicates that six in 10 Americans have postponed a major purchase such as appliances or furniture over the past six months.

Sixty-two percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Wednesday morning say they've postponed a major purchase. That's up 10 points from December, during the height of the Christmas shopping season.

"Think increased consumer spending will rescue the economy? Think again," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Cutbacks in major purchases are the same for rich as well as poor Americans."

The poll also suggests just how hard times are for many households. One in three respondents said they've cut back on necessities such as food or medicine over the past six months because of changes in the economy.

"That hits lower-income households the hardest: A majority of those making less than $25,000 a year say they have cut back on food or medicine," Holland added. "But even a quarter of those making more than $50,000 say they have had to cut back on necessities."

Nearly six in 10 people questioned also say they've cut back on buying clothing over the past six months because of recent changes in economic conditions.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted Thursday through Sunday, with 1,019 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points. To top of page

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