Democrats’ economic confidence continues to grow in the second half of September, building on a sharp increase that coincided with the Democratic National Convention.
Independents’ economic confidence dropped four percentage points in the week ending Sept. 23, tempering a sharp increase in the group’s economic confidence that also coincided with the start of the Democratic convention.
At the same time, at 60, Republicans’ overall confidence in the economy declined, and is once again tied for the lowest it has been since November 2011.
Democrats’ 10-point increase in economic confidence last week contributed to the overall Gallup Economic Confidence Index’s holding steady near the highest level seen this year, despite Republicans’ and independents’ lower economic confidence.
The index averaged -18 for the week ending Sept. 23, essentially where it has been for the last three weeks.
Current Assessments of the Economy Remain Mostly Unchanged
Of the two measures that make up the Gallup Economic Confidence Index, Americans’ economic outlook has shown more improvement than their perceptions of current economic conditions.
Net perceptions of current economic conditions—that is, the percentage rating the economy “excellent” or “good” minus the percentage calling it “poor”—are now -25, on par with where they have been since the week ending Sept. 9, but still slightly better than the -30 at the start of the month.
Americans’ net economic optimism—that is, the percentage saying the economy is getting better minus the percentage saying it is getting worse—improved to -10 last week, up slightly from -12 in the prior week. Americans’ net economic optimism thus remains sharply higher now than its -28 reading in the week ending Sept. 2.
While Democrats’ economic confidence has continued to improve since the start of the Democratic National Convention, independents’ confidence in the economy has fallen back slightly but remains above the levels seen prior to the convention.
Republicans’ lack of confidence likely reflects the fact that the economy is still struggling nearly four years after the economic downturn. Democrats’ greater optimism probably stems from the improvement in some aspects of the economy since President Barack Obama took office and Democrats’ continued focus on them during and after the convention.
With the political campaign only intensifying, and the election’s outcome hinging on the health of the economy, it is possible the partisan gap in economic confidence will expand further over the next several weeks.
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