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RC Poll: Consumer Confidence Varies Widely By Political Party

Roanoke College

What do Virginians think about the state of the economy? According to one new poll, that depends on what they think of the party in power.

How optimistic are you about the state of the economy? Perhaps your answer to that question depends on how you voted in the last election. That’s certainly what Alice Kassens at Roanoke College found in a recent poll gauging consumer sentiment.

“After the presidential election, this most recent presidential election, there was a complete flip. Not only did Republicans start having higher sentiment than Democrats, but by a huge amount.”

When Barack Obama was president, Republicans had a very dim view of the economy. Now that Donald Trump is president, they think the economy is great.

“I thought that perhaps it would taper off, perhaps that gap would close. And it did to some degree. But in this most recent past two polls, including this last one, it’s hit record highs.”

Overall consumer sentiment in Virginia remains above the historic average, although Democrats and Republicans view the economy very differently.

Credit Institute for Policy and Opinion Research at Roanoke College
The figure is a time series showing the Virginia Index of Consumer Sentiment by party affiliation. Note: Lines = Virginia Index of Consumer Sentiment (Blue=D, Red=R), Dashed Lines = VAICS Historical Average

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.