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Poll finds Americans are more confident in the economy

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According to a new Pew Research Center poll, confidence in the U.S. economy is higher than it’s been since before the financial crisis.

Fifty-eight percent of people consider the economy to be doing well (versus 44 percent last year) while 40 percent of people think the economy is doing poorly (down from 54 percent last year). At 14 points, the jump in positive attitudes on the economy is the highest since this survey began, and this is only the second time that half (or more) of the people surveyed have been satisfied with how the economy is doing.

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Confidence in the economy has risen since last year for all groups. By gender, 61 percent of men and 55 percent of women think America’s economic situation is good. By age, 59 percent of those older than 50, 61 percent of those 30-49 years old, and 49 percent of those 18-29, view the economy as in good shape.

The majority of people with differing income levels are viewing the economy favorably as well. Those making $75,000 or more have the highest confidence in the economy, with 67 percent saying they were very or somewhat confident. 

Among college graduates, satisfaction with the economy is at 69 percent. 52 percent of those with only some college education—and 55 percent of those with only a high school degree or less—think that the economy is doing very or somewhat well.

The most surprising statistic in this poll is that Republicans and Democrats can agree: 61 percent of Republicans and 60 percent of Democrats think that the economy is in good shape. Fifty-four percent of independents agree.

This is in contrast to last year, when there was a 26-point difference between the two camps on the current economic climate. During Obama’s tenure, Democrats consistently viewed the economy more positively than Republicans.

Credit for the surge lies with Republicans’ dramatic change in their perspective of the economy; as recently as 2016, only 31 percent of them considered the economy to be doing well. Today, 61 percent believe that that is the case. That 30 point jump amongst Republicans is driving the more positive assessment of the economy overall.

This positive assessment tracks with actual market measures: in February 2017, unemployment was 4.7 percent, down from 4.9 percent the previous February. The Dow Jones Industrial Average Index has experienced a more than 4,000 point bump in the same timeframe, clocking in at 20,812 versus last year’s 16,517.

The poll surveyed 1,505 people between February 16th and March 15th and has a 3.0 percent margin of error. 

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