CCI: Halloween Horror Show for Dems

Oct 26, 2010 4:45pm

With five days ’til Halloween and seven before the election, consumer confidence is looking like a horror show for the party in power. The ABC News Consumer Comfort Index stands at -47 on its scale from +100 to -100, 7 points from its low in nearly 25 years of weekly polls. It’s been this bad just twice in the week before an election: in 2008 and 1992, both years the Republicans were turfed out of the White House. Now it looks like the incumbent Democrats’ turn to suffer. As in the past, economic discontent is fueling broad dissatisfaction with the status quo, and it’s aimed particularly at the party calling the shots in Washington.  Negative economic sentiment is exacerbated by the depth and breadth of the downturn. The CCI, produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates, has been below -40 for a record 131 weeks, and its long-term average inched down to -14 this week for the first time in CCI history. The index peaked, for comparison, at +38 in the go-go days of early 2000. The CCI is based on Americans’ views of the economy, their personal finances and the buying climate. A whopping 92 percent rate the economy negatively, but majorities also say their own finances are hurting (53 percent) and call it a bad time to buy (75 percent) – and have all year. Leading up to the election, the lack of a partisan gap in consumer attitudes is notable. This week the CCI is -39 among Democrats and -44 among Republicans. On average, by contrast, the index among Republicans has been 31 points more positive than among Democrats in available data since 1990.  The usual gap has steadily narrowed since the recession began, and for the past two weeks Democrats have shown greater confidence than Republicans, albeit not significantly so. This flip has happened only 19 times in more than 1,000 weeks of polling.
Yet negativity among Republicans isn’t Democratic candidates’ chief problem. That lies with crucial swing-voting independents, among whom the CCI’s a dismal -51, worse than it is even among Republicans – and a number that may be the scariest yet for the president and his party. Analysis by Julie E. Phelan, research analyst, Langer Research Associates. Click here for tables with this week’s CCI data. Follow us on Twitter @LangerResearch

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