Happy Days Are Here Again

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Happy Days Are Here Again

Americans are more optimistic about the year ahead than they have been in a long time.  However, as we’d expect in such a time of political turmoil and geopolitical change, there are pockets of anxiety that do not share in the broader upbeat mood.

The Rasmussen Reports Economic Index hit 147.8 in January 2020 smashing through its five-year high.  Enthusiasm for the economy started to grow immediately following Donald Trump's election as president in November 2016 and spiked to the previous high of 145.9 in February 2018.  By comparison, in President Obama’s final years in office, this index reached a high of 121.5 in January 2015 and was at 108.1 during his last month in the White House.

Sixty-one percent of American Adults rate the economy as good or excellent, which is above 2018’s high.  Meanwhile, just nine percent now rate the economy as poor, the lowest level of pessimism in the survey’s history.

Forty-three percent say the economy is getting better, while twenty-six percent don’t foresee any changes.  On the other hand, just twenty-seven percent expect a worsening economy, which is the lowest reading in five years of surveying.  Notably, the outlook for the future depends largely on your political views; 70% of Republicans expect the economy to get better, while only 26% of Democrats and 39% of independent voters agree.

That still represents a sea-change from four years ago.  Just prior to the 2016 presidential election, 31% of all Americans rated the economy as good or excellent, and only 26% expected it to get better.

Perhaps more important for individual happiness, fifty-nine percent of Americans have a positive view of their personal finances.  Meanwhile, only nine percent rate their own finances as poor, down four points from year-end 2019 and a record low for this survey.  Importantly, forty-two percent expect their finances to improve in the coming year.

Another Rasmussen survey finds that 72% of American adults think 2020 will be, at a minimum, a good year.  That’s up dramatically from 54% in 2019 and it includes 22% who say 2020 will be an excellent year and 20% who predict it will be “one of the best years ever.”

The previous high was 62% who had a positive outlook immediately following the 2016 election, as 2017 dawned.  For comparison, only 47% felt that way about 2015, and optimism was even lower in the years prior to that.

Notably, just 15% think 2020 will only be a fair year, while a mere six percent think it will be a poor one.

For reference, 57% gave 2019 positive marks, with 26% who said it was a good year, 16% who said it was an excellent year and 15% who said it was one of the best years ever...

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