Confidence in the U.S. economy jumped eight points in September, from a reading of -27 to -19, the second-highest reading since 2008, when Gallup began tracking economic confidence. The all-time high of -17 was reached in May of this year.
The rise was due almost entirely to an increase in the outlook for the economy, not from Americans’ confidence in current economic conditions. Gallup reports that the index for the economic outlook rose 13 points to -13, while the index for current conditions rose three points, from -29 to -26.
As usual, respondents self-identified political affiliation colored the results. Democrats posted a positive reading of 23, while Independents posted a reading of -24 and Republicans posted a reading of -59. Once again, the gains were registered in respondents outlook, not their view of current conditions.
Overall, it is clear that politics is playing an inordinately large role in economic perceptions. As such, it will be important to take that into account when examining consumer attitudes through the final month of the U.S. presidential campaign and at the start of the next administration, particularly if there is a change in power.