DC’s confidence in the economy is an ‘outlier,’ Gallup finds

Katie Callahan Contributor
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People in Washington, D.C. were far more confident in the economy in 2013 than anywhere else in the nation, according to the polling firm Gallup.

Only the District of Columbia pulled off a positive score on Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index, which compiles data from Gallup surveys throughout the year. Washington is the “clear outlier in economic confidence,” the firm wrote.

D.C.’s score of 19 was 10 points lower than the same 2012 measure, when it topped the list for the first time.

“Its confidence has taken a hit, however, since 2012, when its index was +29. Likely factors in the 10-point drop include October’s federal government shutdown as well as the sequestration spending cuts that occurred earlier in the year,” Gallup found.

The Economic Confidence Index looks at current economic conditions in the U.S. and public perception of economic direction, rating states “+100” if all respondents give positive feedback (“excellent” or “good”), and “-100” for the negative feedback (“poor” or “getting worse”).

Massachusetts (-1), Minnesota (-2), and California (-5) rated behind the District. Confidence improved in most states, but the least economically confident was West Virginia (-44), followed by Alaska (-24).

Gallup surveyed 178,071 adults from January through December of last year, and conducted 462 interviews in D.C. Many of the results were similar to 2012.

The lack of brimming confidence will likely be an important issue heading into the 2014 midterm elections.

“Candidates running on Republican tickets can attempt to paint this economic dissatisfaction as the fault of the Democratic president. Democratic candidates, on the other hand, will have to be sensitive to the low levels of economic confidence across the country — particularly for Democrats running in the bottom 10 states,” stated the poll.

Presidential job approval ratings correlate with the economic confidence ratings, and D.C. had the highest presidential job approval rating, at 80 percent.

“Eight of the states in the bottom 10 in 2013 were also in the bottom 10 in approval of President Barack Obama’s job performance, underscoring the sometimes-political nature of economic confidence,” Gallup wrote.