Shift in Consumer Sentiment Raises Concerns for Democrats

U.S. President Joe Biden
U.S. President Joe Biden. Credit | Getty images

United States – Independents that gauge the overall consumer sentiment index with the monthly survey on the U.S. political affiliation have shifted closer this year towards the Republicans, the view that might pose a danger for Democrats to lose the presidential election on Nov 5, as reported by Reuters.

Economic Worries Impact Biden’s Approval Ratings

In another sign of the trouble that President Joe Biden has with voters on the economy, which ranked as the top worry of the U. S. electorate before the election, the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index dropped to its lowest since November 2020 in May. Current situation ratings were at their lowest in one year, and the household outlook has been weak since December.

Partisan Divide Reflected in Survey Results

The division based on the political party does not come as a surprise mainly because since January 2021, the Democratic party has been in control of the White House while the Republicans have been the opposing party; the partisan gap has become common in the survey since the survey began to ask the respondents’ political affiliations at the beginning of the Republican Donald Trump’s tenure in 2017. When Trump was in office, it was the Republicans who were even more likely to stay positive much more often.

Specifically, political independents, who, according to their poll results, could be the deciding voting bloc that will put one of the candidates over the top in November, have usually mirrored the overall survey score until this year.

Independents are more often than not less positive on the economy regardless of the party in power, but after January, they moved substantially below this overall reading.

On an absolute and relative scale, the downside deviation was lower in May – 6.6 index points or 9.6%, respectively – and was the largest since the monthly readings were published. Independents, for instance, have been recording an average reading of 5 since January. 1 points, or 6.7%, below the overall Consumer Sentiment Index in contrast to an average downside gap of 1.6 points, or 2.2%, since February 2017, which is the month when monthly readings were initiated.

In actuality, the average level of independents in the last five to six months has been over one standard deviation below the normal averages of the series, signifying to consumers that the gap is substantive and habitual. Two of the last three months have had readings as low as 45, which is over two standard deviations below the expected values.

A Reuters/IPSOS poll released on Tuesday showed that Biden’s general approval ratings this month slid to 36%, the lowest they have been in approximately two years, as reported by Reuters.

Economic Concerns Dominate Voter Priorities
When asked about the pressing issues that affect the country, the economy received 23% of the votes, which makes it the major concern of the electorate. Regarding the economy, 40 percent assessed that Trump had better policies compared to 30 percent for Biden. The rest of the respondents either said that they did not know or did not answer the question of which of the two candidates had better policies in terms of the economy.