The Politics of Consumer Confidence: Parties Split On Economic Confidence Heading Into SOTU

Consumer confidence dipped for the second consecutive two-week period with confidence dropping from 46.2 to 45.5, according to the most recent reading of the HPS-CivicScience Economic Sentiment Index. Heading into the State of the Union, analysis shows stark differences in confidence by political party with confidence among Democrats remaining 19 points higher on average than Republicans since January 2013. In fact, among all variables in the CivicScience database, political leanings tend to be most closely correlated with confidence.

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The dip over the course of January comes after confidence rose rapidly in the last two months of 2013.

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As highlighted in our last release, confidence among the unemployed has fallen significantly since the expiration of unemployment insurance for 1.3 million people. Over the past two weeks, confidence fell among the unemployed by another point. Meanwhile, despite a slight dip over the past two weeks, confidence among the employed rose in January overall.

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The rolling daily average showed confidence holding steady at around 45 over the past week. When looking at each component, most components remained constant except views of the U.S. economy, which fell 1.2 points.

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All five questions in the index are below:

  • Over the next six months, do you expect your personal financial situation to get better, stay the same, or get worse?
  • Given the current state of your local market, is now a good or bad time to purchase a new home?
  • Given the current state of the economy, is now a good time or a bad time to make a major purchase like a new car or home improvements?
  • Looking ahead six months, do you think the U.S. economy will get better, stay the same, or get worse?
  • Over the next six months, do you think it will become easier or more difficult to find a new job?

The next release of the ESI will be Tuesday, February 11th.

About the Index

The HPS-CivicScience Economic Sentiment Index (“ESI”) measures U.S. adults’ expectations for the economy going forward, as well as their feelings about current conditions for major purchases. The primary goal of the Index is to accurately measure movements in overall national economic sentiment, and to provide a more sophisticated alternative to existing economic sentiment indices. Unlike other prominent indices that release consumer sentiment estimates infrequently, the HPS-CivicScience Index is updated in real time as responses are collected continuously every hour, every day. Large-scale cross-tabulation of survey responses and consumer attributes enable more granular analyses than are currently possible through prevailing measures.

About Hamilton Place Strategies (HPS)

Hamilton Place Strategies is a policy, advocacy, and communications consulting firm with a focus and expertise at the intersection of government, business, and media.

About CivicScience

CivicScience is a next-generation polling and data mining company. The company partners with hundreds of premier websites to survey millions of people every week. Proprietary technology then rapidly analyzes consumer opinion, discovers trends in real-time, and accurately predicts market outcomes. CivicScience is used by leading enterprises in an array of industries including marketing research, advertising, digital media, financial services, and political polling.