Latest CCI? Ask an Ex-Congress Member

Nov 9, 2010 4:45pm

Many soon-to-be-unemployed Democratic House members can now vouch for the latest ABC News Consumer Comfort Index.

The CCI stands at -46 on its scale of -100 to +100 for the second week in a row, matching its average for the year and marking its 133rd week straight below -40.

That is dreadful, and it defined the 2010 midterm elections a week ago. Mirroring this week’s CCI results, 90 percent of voters in the national exit poll rated the national economy negatively, 87 percent said they were worried about the direction of the nation’s economy and 42 percent said their family’s financial situation had worsened in the past two years. Each of these groups favored out-of-power Republicans by double-digit margins. 

Sixty-three percent of voters, moreover, called the economy the most important issue facing the country, far and away No. 1 – and they favored Republican House candidates over Democrats by 11 points, the first time Republicans have won economy voters group in exit poll history. 

If a shock to the Democrats, it was no real surprise; we reported last week that the CCI was its lowest on an Election Day save for 2008 (-48), when the incumbent Republicans lost the White House, and 1992 (-49), when they lost the presidency.

In the latest CCI, produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates, only 9 percent of Americans rate the national economy positively, just 26 percent call it a good time to buy, and 46 percent rate their personal finances positively.

Again the CCI is negative across demographic groups.  Although it had flipped positive for the wealthiest Americans (those who make over $100,000) several weeks ago, it’s dropped back into negative territory for this group too.  

The CCI is lowest among those with the lowest incomes, -73; without a high school degree, -70; with only a high school degree, -52; and women, -51. It peaks among the wealthy, -12, and college educated, -35 – but still remains far below the longtime averages for both groups.

With 9.6 percent of the workforce out of a job, it’s no wonder economic gloom permeates the electorate.  More than 30 percent of voters said someone in their household had lost a job in the last two years. Even a better-than-expected jobs report last week didn’t budge the overall unemployment rate, nor, it seems, consumers’ outlook. 

Analysis by Julie E. Phelan, research analyst, Langer Research Associates.

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

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