Democrats More Optimistic Than Republicans About Economy For The First Time In Years, Poll Finds
A new poll from SurveyMonkey and the New York Times showed major shifts in economic sentiment along party lines after the election: For the first time since Donald Trump was elected in 2016, Democrats and Independents now have a more optimistic view of the economy than Republicans do.
• Only 21% of Republican respondents said they expect to be better off financially in a year’s time (down 41% from the previous month), while 41% of Democrats expect to be in a better financial position (up 25% from the previous month), the survey found.
• The share of Republicans who expect good business conditions in the United States over the next year plummeted from 56% to 19% between October and November.
• 73% of Republicans said they expect periods of widespread unemployment or depression over the next five years (up significantly from 28% the month before), compared to 51% of Democrats (down from 76% the prior month).
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell offered a tempered view of the economic recovery during a Senate Banking Committee hearing on Tuesday. “Recent news on the vaccine front is very positive for the medium term,” he said, though “for now, significant challenges and uncertainties remain.” As the coronavirus continues to spike to record levels across the United States, an already fragile labor market is beginning to cool again and millions of families are facing the expiration of key benefits (including pandemic unemployment programs) at the end of the year unless Congress acts to extend them.
The shift comes as lawmakers in Washington continue to struggle to piece together the next coronavirus rescue bill amid deep disagreements over what that legislation should look like. Republicans, led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), generally favor a smaller, more targeted package worth about $500 billion. Democrats, led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), on the other hand, are pushing for sweeping legislation worth about $ 2 trillion. A bipartisan group of moderate lawmakers Tuesday released a framework for a $900 billion bill (though only a third of that money would be newly appropriated), but that plan does not have the support of the leaders of either party. President-elect Biden on Tuesday reaffirmed his commitment to passing immediate stimulus legislation in the lame-duck Congress and added that he believes more federal aid will be necessary after he takes office in January.