Republicans Upgrade Views of Their Own Financial Situation

Republicans Upgrade Views of Their Own Financial Situation

The FINANCIAL -- Republicans have become significantly more positive about their financial situation, while Democrats have grown more negative about theirs.

Seven in 10 Republicans and Republican leaners are feeling "pretty good" about the amount of money they have to spend, up from 44% in October 2016. Meanwhile, the percentage of Democrats and Democratic leaners feeling good about their money has dropped from 66% to 51%.

The shift in Republicans' and Democrats' feelings about their money has occurred for the most part since Donald Trump won the presidential election in November. Republicans' financial optimism grew as Democrats' fell. But it was not until February, Trump's first full month in office, that Republicans' optimism significantly outpaced Democrats'. The current pattern looks like a near-reversal of what it was during most of Barack Obama's last year in office, when a majority of Democrats vs. less than half of Republicans felt good about the money they had to spend, according to Gallup.

These results are based on one of a series of eight personal financial questions Gallup has asked Americans daily since 2013. This analysis looks at the results aggregated on a monthly basis.

Several other measures show the same type of shift, only with the change occurring a bit later. The percentage of Republicans who say they would be able to "make a major purchase, such as a car, appliance or furniture, or pay for a significant home repair if you needed to" -- essentially unchanged through December -- rose from 57% to 62% between December and January, and increased further in February to 71%. Democrats' views of their ability to make a major purchase have been roughly stable over the same period.

The percentage of Republicans who are trying to cut back on their spending has plummeted 21 points since December -- from 62% to 41%. Democrats have become more likely to say they are cutting back: 60% now compared with 51% in December.

Republicans have also become more than twice as likely now as they were four months ago to say they are feeling better about their financial situation, while Democrats' positive responses to this question have fallen. From January to November, Democrats were much more likely than Republicans to say they were feeling better financially; now, the opposite pattern prevails.

Several of Gallup's personal financial measures did not shift as substantially as the ones reviewed in this article. For example, high percentages of both partisan groups said before and after the election that they were watching their spending closely, and there has not been a lot of change in the percentage saying they have "more than enough money to do what you want to do." But for the most part, Republicans have become more positive about their finances and Democrats more negative as the new president has taken office.

Americans' Overall Views of Their Personal Finances Have Improved

The positive shift in Republicans' attitudes about their personal financial situations has generally been stronger than Democrats' shift in the opposite direction. As a result, Americans overall have become at least modestly more positive on a number of the personal financial measures.

For example, 59% of Americans now say they are feeling good about their money, up from 51% in September. In similar fashion, Americans -- again, driven by the attitudes of Republicans -- have become less likely to say they are cutting back on their spending, with 52% saying they are doing so now, compared with 57% each month last fall.

Implications

Trump's election as president has been associated with a rising stock market and generally more upbeat public views on the status and direction of the U.S. economy. It appears that his presidency has also enhanced Americans' optimism about their own personal financial situations, driven mostly by Republicans' sharply more positive attitudes.

These results complement other Gallup research showing that Americans have become more positive about the national economy in general -- again mainly reflecting Republicans' increased optimism. Any positive reaction to the economy or stock market among Democrats appears to have been tempered by their negative views of having a Republican, perhaps Trump in particular, as president.

 

Author: The FINANCIAL