Partisan Politics Divides Americans on Prospects for Economy

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 5: U.S. President Donald Trump, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Mike Pence applaud during the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives at the U.S. Capitol Building on February 5, 2019 in Washington, DC. President Trump's second State …
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Polls asking American households and businesses about the health of the American economy reveal sharp political divisions.

A recent Gallup poll found that 68 percent of Republicans say they are better off financially today than a year ago, with just ten percent saying they are worse off. Just 37 percent of Democrats say they are better off, with 32 percent saying they are worse off.

Similarly, recession fears among small business owners also break down along party lines. Just 38 percent of Republican small business owners say a recession is likely in the next year, while 79 percent of Democrats say a recession is likely, according to the latest CNBC/SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey.

Views of the economy changed with control of the White House. In pre-election polls from 2015 and 2016, 58 percent of Democrats said they were better off than the year prior, and 24 percent said they were worse off. Republicans were divided in those polls, with 37 percent claiming they were worse off and 37 percent saying they were better off.

Despite the divisions, Americans remain extremely optimistic. Sixty-nine percent of Americans say they expect to be better off next year, according to Gallup. That is the highest reading in 16 years and close to the all-time high of 71 percent set in 1998. The CNBC/SurveyMonkey small business confidence index fell from 59 to 58 this quarter but remains much higher than levels recorded a few years ago.

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