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Economic Confidence Spikes, Despite Looming Fiscal Cliff Economic Confidence Spikes, Despite Looming Fiscal Cliff

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Policy / ECONOMY

Economic Confidence Spikes, Despite Looming Fiscal Cliff

photo of Niraj Chokshi
October 2, 2012

Americans either have faith that Congress can deal with the many threats facing the economy or they just haven't come to terms yet with the gravity of the problem.

That's the implication of a new Gallup survey showing economic confidence last month reached its second-highest peak since polling on the trend began in 2008. The confidence boost was driven almost entirely by hope for the future, despite the year-end threat of reaching a "fiscal cliff" from expiring tax cuts and automatic spending cuts.

But the confidence—or lack of concern—isn't shared by all. Economic outlooks are divided along partisan lines, underscoring how members of each party view the economy through polarized lenses.

 

"Democrats and, to a lesser degree, independents became significantly more optimistic about the economy's direction in September," Gallup reported. "While the catalyst for this optimism appears to have been the Democratic National Convention at the start of September, the effect persisted, with only a slight easing in the fourth week, ending Sept. 30."

Overall confidence jumped 8 percentage points last month, to -19, nearly matching the four-year high of -17, registered in May. The measure is based on how respondents view current and future economic conditions, though the September jump was driven "almost entirely" by economic outlook, Gallup reported.

Optimism about the future of the economy doubled among Democrats, spiked among independents, and held steady for Republicans.

"Overall, it is clear that politics is playing an inordinately large role in economic perceptions," Gallup reported.

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