Why all the pessimism?

The Gallup Poll folks are positively perplexed about what they found in their latest survey of Americans' attitudes about the economy.

PRINCETON, NJ — Food and gasoline prices both rose last month. At the pump, gas prices increased about 10% in May and are up almost 40% since January. In addition, average weekly wages for non-supervisory workers fell, after adjusting for inflation, for the second consecutive month in May. At the same time, the stock market continues at record highs and manufacturing output is edging upward, making factories a tad busier this year.

Such conflicting economic reports make it difficult to explain exactly why Gallup's June reading of Americans' economic views remains as negative as seen in May. A modest one in three Americans rate the economy today as either excellent or good, while the percentage saying the economy is getting better fell slightly, from 28% to 23%. Fully 7 in 10 Americans now say the economy is getting worse, the most negative reading in nearly six years.

No, the fact that many ordinary Americans aren't sharing in the current stock market bounty because they bailed from stocks after the dot-bomb (it's institutional investors driving the current rally) couldn't possibly have an impact on people's attitudes.  And the fact three million manufacturing jobs have been lost since 2000?  Irrelevant.  Why can't those rubes see the prosperity all around them?  Why are they complaining about stagnating wages and rising prices when the core rate of inflation is so low?

OK, enough sarcasm.  The numbers themselves are pretty interesting, especially because, as the analysis notes, "The last time Americans held such negative views was in early September 2001, just before the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11."  That's pretty pessimistic, at least by the standard set during the last generation or so.

It doesn't bode well for iPhone index, does it?