Confidence Among its Election Day Lows

Nov 2, 2010 4:45pm

Consumer confidence is its lowest on an Election Day save twice in the last 25 years – 1992 and 2008, when an incumbent president and incumbent party lost the White House.

Such is the public’s ire in a bad economy, aimed this year at the in-power Democrats. 

This week’s ABC News Consumer Comfort Index stands at -46 on a scale of -100 to +100, just 8 points above its record low, showing no signs of recovery from its dive as the recession started in long-ago late 2007.

The CCI, produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates, was -49 on Election Day in 1992, when George H.W. Bush lost re-election, and -48 on Election Day in 2008, when Barack Obama took the White House for the Democrats. It was better when control of Congress flipped in 1994, -19; and in 2006, -3.

In an ABC News/Washington Post poll released Sunday, 92 percent of likely voters said the economy’s hurting, and despite $800 million in stimulus spending only 29 percent said it’s improving. The impact on vote preference is clear: Likely voters who said the economy’s in “poor” shape – half the total – favored Republican candidates by a vast 67-26 percent. And those who said it’s getting worse favored Republicans even more broadly, by 74-19 percent. 

In the latest CCI, 92 percent rate the economy negatively, 74 percent say it’s a bad time to spend money and 53 percent rate their own family’s finances negatively. The later, most personal measure is 9 points worse than its average in weekly polls since late 1985.

The CCI has averaged -46 this year, its second worst year on record after an average -48 in 2009. And it nearly as bad, -42, in 2008 – making this the longest stretch this low in its nearly 25-year history. More than anything else, it’s that economic discontent – deep and long-running – that defines today’s midterm elections.

Click here for tables with this week’s CCI data.

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