Also showing caution was the more than half (52%) who said they were doubtful about the future after the market crash, compared to 29% who were unconcerned and 12% who were confident of the future.
About 31% of those who do not own stocks said that the impact of the market crash would be bad for them, the same percentage as those with more than $3,000 of stocks.
For the Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday November 5, 1987 Home Edition Part 1 Page 2 Column 6 National Desk 2 inches; 70 words Type of Material: Correction
A table accompanying a story in Wednesday editions on results of the Los Angeles Times Poll had one line mislabeled. The poll surveyed consumers on their spending plans in the wake of the stock market crash. Twenty-five percent of those surveyed said chances of a recession within the next 12 months are fairly low and 20% said they are very low. The poll showed that 31% plan to postpone or reduce a major consumer purchase while 66% said they would not change their spending plans and 3% said they are not sure.
Despite their personal financial concerns, most of those polled were optimistic about prospects for the economy generally. About 65% of those surveyed think the odds are less than 50% that a recession would start in the next 12 months. Even stockholders who lost money in the crash were optimistic, as 64% of them thought the odds were better than 50-50 against a recession.
Of the 19% of those surveyed who own stocks, 46% lost money in the recent decline, 39% broke even, 6% made money and the rest were not sure.
But those who lost money in the crash were generally not discouraged about the market. While the bulk (69%) of those losers said they do not plan to change the level of their stock investing, 17% plan to increase while 12% plan to pull back.
"You hear a lot of whistling past the graveyard," Lewis said in explaining the optimism of the losers, noting that people tend to think that what they are doing is good, regardless of whether the results are bad.
Respondents for the telephone poll represent a cross section of the American population. The margin for error is 3 percentage points in either direction, Lewis said.