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Consumer Confidence in N.H. Hits 15-Year High

UNH Survey Center

Republicans pleased with the 2016 election results are pushing consumer confidence in New Hampshire to a 15-year high.

Sixty-seven percent of respondents see “good times” ahead in the coming year for the state’s economy, while 17% foresee “bad times” on the horizon, according a new poll released Wednesday by the Business and Industry Association and University of New Hampshire Survey Center.

Among respondents who identified as Republican, 91% said they expect a stronger U.S. economy during the next twelve months. Only 32% of Democrats come to the same optimistic conclusion.

Credit UNH Survey Center

“People’s perceptions of the economy are driven to a large extent by the party that’s in power,” says Andy Smith, director of the UNH Survey Center. “If it’s their particular political party that’s in charge, they think things are going to be better. If it’s the opposing political party that’s in charge, they think things are going to get worse.”

While swings in confidence generally occur around national elections, Republican optimism has rebounded more than in previous elections, according to Smith. In the months preceding Donald Trump’s victory, 27% of Republicans in New Hampshire thought the economy was heading in a positive direction. Today, that figure has jumped more than 64-percentage points.

“It was like there was this almost pent-up demand on the part of Republicans who just didn’t want to believe that the economy was getting better while Obama was still President,” says Smith. “Now that he’s out of office, it’s seems like they’ve let out a collective sigh.”

One less partisan statistic in the new report is on personal financial conditions: 38% of all respondents say they are better off today economically than they were one year ago, while 45% say they are worse off, a nine-percent uptick since October, 2016. Fifty-seven percent of Millennials responded that their economic situation has improved in the past 12 months, while just 15% of people over the age of 65 reported being better off.

Credit UNH Survey Center

Todd started as a news correspondent with NHPR in 2009. He spent nearly a decade in the non-profit world, working with international development agencies and anti-poverty groups. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University.

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