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U.S. Economic Confidence Index Highest in Over a Year

U.S. Economic Confidence Index Highest in Over a Year

Story Highlights

  • Index registered -12 in October
  • Confidence highest since July 2013
  • Confidence among upper-income Americans hits positive territory

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index jumped to a monthly reading of -12 in October. This is the most positive score since the -12 of July 2013, though it is still lower than the record high of -7 in May 2013. The three-point increase from September is the largest monthly improvement seen this year so far.

Trend: Gallup Economic Confidence Index -- Monthly Averages

The October reading is the third-highest monthly figure Gallup has found since it began tracking the Economic Confidence Index on a daily basis in 2008. Confidence in October was buoyed by two weekly readings of -10 -- the highest such readings since August of last year. Last week's index score of -11, based on Oct. 27-Nov. 2 interviewing, suggests that confidence has stabilized at a more positive level compared with most of 2014.

Though the monthly index remains negative, this is the closest it has come to a positive reading in some time. The record monthly high for the Economic Confidence Index is -7, recorded in May 2013, and June of that year saw a -8, before confidence plummeted in the fall.

Gallup's Economic Confidence Index is the average of two components: how Americans view current economic conditions, and their perceptions of whether the economy is getting better or worse. In October, 22% said the economy is "excellent" or "good," while 32% said it is poor. This resulted in a current conditions dimension score of -10, the highest current conditions score since February 2008.

Meanwhile, 41% of Americans said the economy is getting better, while 54% said it is getting worse. This resulted in an economic outlook score of -13 -- the best outlook score since January.

Trend: Gallup Economic Confidence Sub-Indexes -- Monthly Averages

Upper-Income Americans' Confidence Reaches Positive Territory

The confidence of both upper-income Americans (+2) and middle- and lower-income Americans (-14) reached levels in October that have not been seen since July 2013.

Upper-income Americans had a particularly large climb in confidence, gaining eight index points from the previous month and reaching positive territory.

Trend: Economic Confidence Index Scores by Income

Confidence Up Among Dems, Independents; Flat for Republicans

In the waning days of the 2014 campaign season, confidence improved by six points for both Democrats (+20) and independents (-15), while Republicans' confidence in the economy remained flat -- and much lower -- at -37. These stark partisan differences reflect a typical pattern by which those who identify with the party of the president are generally much more positive than others.

Trend: Economic Confidence Index Scores by Political Party

Bottom Line

October's improvement in economic confidence comes in the final stretch of a year with index readings that, although negative, approached seven-year highs and were remarkably stable. After months of stagnant confidence, Americans may be becoming more positive in their views of the economy's current state and future prospects.

With the stock market having ended last month on a positive note and gas prices continuing to drop, it is reasonable to expect the gains made in October to be sustained in November.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Oct. 1-31, 2014, on the Gallup U.S. Daily survey, with a random sample of 15,168 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±1 percentage point at the 95% confidence level.

Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 50% cellphone respondents and 50% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.

Learn more about how Gallup Daily tracking works.

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