Poll finds surge in optimism on the economy despite post-election media storm

by WorldTribune Staff, February 20, 2017

A majority of Americans say the economy is gaining strength and believe the trend will continue under President Donald Trump, according to a new poll.

The survey found that 61 percent view the economy as strong, while 39 percent say it is weak, according to a Harvard-Harris poll provided exclusively to The Hill.

Optimism in the economy is driven in large part by President Donald Trump’s vow to cut taxes.

A plurality, 42 percent, said they believe the economy is on the right track, versus 39 percent who said it is on the wrong track.

“It’s really a surprising turnaround given how negative voters have been about the economy since 2009,” said Mark Penn, co-director of the Harvard-Harris poll. “But jobs remains the number one issue and a lot of the change in sentiment anticipates tax cuts and infrastructure programs.”

The economy added 227,000 new jobs in January, far greater than the 175,000 economists had expected.

Among Republicans surveyed in the Harvard-Harris poll, 60 percent said they were satisfied with the economic trajectory, versus 23 percent who are dissatisfied. Only 33 percent of Democrats said the economy is on the right track, while 48 percent said it is headed in the wrong direction.

At 65 percent, Trump voters are the likeliest to say the economy is headed in the right direction.

In an interview with The Hill last month, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell criticized said that under former President Barack Obama’s watch the country “didn’t have a single year of 3 percent growth, and the statute of limitations on blaming [former President George W. Bush] ran out a long time ago.” He also said the stock market is rising because of the “expectation of regulatory relief and tax reform.”

The online survey of 2,148 registered voters was conducted between Feb. 11 and Feb. 13. The partisan breakdown is 39 percent Democrat, 30 percent Republican, 27 percent independent and five percent other. The Harvard-Harris Poll is a collaboration of the Harvard Center for American Political Studies and The Harris Poll.

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