WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Navigator Research released new polling showing Americans remain pessimistic about the current and future state of the national economy. However, Navigator also tested a series of positive economic indicators and found Americans could be moved toward optimistic perceptions by over 30 points after exposure to these statements.
Sentiment about the state of the economy remains deeply negative: 71 percent of respondents said they would rate the state of the economy today as “not so good” or “poor;” more than nine in ten Americans believe the costs of everyday goods like groceries are going up (92 percent); and 95 percent of Americans report being concerned about the rate of inflation. In a Navigator poll last month, nearly three in four Americans agreed that “corporations being greedy and raising prices to make record profits” was a cause of inflation (73 percent), including 44 percent who believed it to be a “major cause.”
However, this new Navigator survey tested a battery of positive indicators on the economy, asking respondents whether they found various statements about the economy to be compelling proof that the economy is improving. Statements about job creation and overall growth are the best proof points that the economy is recovering.
When respondents were shown statements such as, “more than 6 million jobs were created last year, the largest number of any year on record” and, “last year, the U.S. economy (GDP) grew 5.7 percent, which is the highest rate of growth in almost 40 years,” majorities said they were good indicators of economic recovery (54 percent and 53 percent, respectively).
Among an audience of “economically persuadable Americans” (those who disapprove of President Biden’s handling of the economy, but support his economic agenda), these indicators were seen as positive alongside another indicator that “for the first time in 30 years, the U.S. economy has grown faster than China’s” (51 percent positive indicator among this group).
Exposure to these proof points dramatically improved Americans’ perceptions about the economy. While people were initially overwhelmingly negative (net -44 points) about the state of the country’s economy, they were significantly less negative (net -10) after being asked about these economic indicators — a net 34-point improvement.
“There are a lot of conflicting messages about the economy right now — inflation is a serious concern even though President Biden has overseen unprecedented economic growth during his first year in office,” said Bryan Bennett, Senior Director of Polling and Analytics at the Hub Project. “Americans still feel pessimistic about rising prices, but exposure to the cumulative impact of the White House’s economic agenda can create increasing confidence around the nation’s recovery.”
The economic indicators also caused positive movement toward trust in Biden and the Democratic Party to handle job creation and economic growth. The Biden/Democratic advantage on handling job growth over Republicans increased from net +1 to +8 after hearing the positive economic indicators, and increased from a 6-point deficit to 5-point advantage handling economic growth.
About Navigator Research
The Navigator Research project is designed to act as a consistent, flexible, responsive tool to inform policy debates. By conducting research and providing reliable guidance to inform allies, elected leaders, and the press, Navigator helps top leaders in Washington and grassroots leaders around the country shape the debate on the issues that matter most. Follow us on Twitter for the latest updates.
About the Study
Global Strategy Group conducted public opinion surveys among a sample of 1,000 registered voters from February 3-February 7, 2022. 101 additional interviews were conducted among Hispanic voters. 78 additional interviews were conducted among Asian American and Pacific Islander voters. 99 additional interviews were conducted among African American voters. 100 additional interviews were conducted among independent voters. The survey was conducted online, recruiting respondents from an opt-in online panel vendor. Respondents were verified against a voter file and special care was taken to ensure the demographic composition of our sample matched that of the national registered voter population across a variety of demographic variables. The margin of error at the 95 percent confidence level is +/- 3.1 percent.