One-Third Worried About Heat Costs

home heating, Snow covered house AP / CBS

As oil and natural gas prices stay high, concerns about paying heating bills this winter are on the rise, especially amongst Americans with the lowest incomes, according to a new CBS News poll.

Almost one-third of Americans now express "a lot" of concern about being able to pay their heating bills, up from 24 percent last month. Another 28 percent have "some" concern. Thirty-eight percent say they are not concerned.


Read the full CBS News/New York Times poll (.pdf)

Concern About Paying Heating Bills

Now:
A lot
32 percent
Some
28 percent
Not much/not at all
38 percent

December, 2005:
A lot
24 percent
Some
25 percent
Not much/not at all
46 percent

Concern is highest among those living in the Northeast and South, and among those with the lowest incomes. More than half of Americans with household incomes of less than $30,000 say they have a lot of concern about paying their heating bills this winter. Those demographic groups have also shown the greatest increase in concern about paying their bills since December.

"A Lot" Of Concern

Now:
Percentage of those polled total
32 percent
Income less than $30k
53 percent
Income between $30k and $50k
31 percent
Income between $50k and $100k
22 percent
Income more than $100k
16 percent

December, 2005:
Percentage of those polled total
24 percent
Income less than $30k
37 percent
Income between $30k and $50k
28 percent
Income between $50k and $100k
19 percent
Income more than $100k
7 percent

People who are worried about keeping their household income are also worried about paying for heat this winter. Sixty-one percent of those who are very concerned about someone in their household losing a job are also very concerned about paying their heating bills. The price of gas and heating oil ties for fourth place on the list of important issues facing the country, volunteered by 4 percent of Americans, up from 2 percent from December.

Most Important Problem Facing U.S.

Now:
War In Iraq
22 percent
Economy and jobs
14 percent
Terrorism
9 percent
Health care
4 percent
The President
4 percent
Gas/heating oil costs
4 percent

December, 2005:
War In Iraq
13 percent
Economy and jobs
19 percent
Terrorism
6 percent
Health care
4 percent
The President
1 percent
Gas/heating oil costs
2 percent



This poll was conducted among a nationwide random sample of 1,229 adults, interviewed by telephone January 20-25, 2006. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus three percentage points. For detailed information on how CBS News conducts public opinion surveys, click here.

  • Christine Lagorio

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