After reporting growing anxiety during the year before the November presidential election, the latest Marketplace-Edison Research Poll showed that the Economic Anxiety Index has decreased, from 36 in October to 32.
The poll found that Americans had an overall improved feeling of financial security. They were less worried about losing their jobs, ability to pay their mortgage or rent and saving for retirement than they were six months ago.
Still, other research shows that less than half of Americans are confident they will achieve their retirement goals.
The Economic Anxiety Index, a number on a scale from 0 to 100 that is calculated from answers to survey responses, describes just how stressed out people feel about their personal financial situation. The higher the number, the more economic stress someone is feeling.
The national survey involved 1,044 Americans ages 18 and older, 500 of whom were interviewed by telephone in early April and 544 of whom were interviewed online.
Reduced economic anxiety notwithstanding, 82% of respondents said they worried about health care “a lot” or “a little.” It was the top economic concern across the political spectrum, though more so for Democrats that for Republicans: 38% vs. 22%.
Three-quarters of respondents expressed fear about being unable to afford health care services they or their family need.
In the meantime, the Trump administration and GOP lawmakers are at odds over a renewed effort to revise the Affordable Care Act.
One expert recently described three problems successful health care reform must solve.
Nearly three-quarters of surveyed respondents said they felt the government in Washington has forgotten them, a sentiment that cut across party lines.
The survey found that the number of Americans who completely distrust economic data reported by the federal government, such as the unemployment rate, had declined from 25% to 18% — largely driven by an increase in trust among Republicans.
First 100 Days
Forty-three percent of respondents approved of the administration’s handling of the U.S. economy. This compared with a 52% approval rating for the Obama administration in October.
Half thought the U.S. government should be run more like a business, including 78% of Republicans but only 32% of Democrats.
Although the White House has not pursued a major infrastructure improvement bill, 85% of both Republicans and Democrats would like Congress to pass such a bill, according to the survey.
In addition, a strong majority of respondents supported the idea of raising taxes on businesses that move manufacturing jobs overseas, with 74% of Republicans in favor versus 69% of Democrats.
Half of respondents in the survey favored the administration’s proposal to significantly increase defense spending, though only 35% of Democrats supported it, compared with 72% of Republicans.
On the fraught subject of immigration, 57% of respondents said building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico would hurt the U.S. economy.
In addition, 60% said expanding the number of visas for short-term or skilled workers would help the economy. Sixty-five percent of Democrats and 53% of Republicans said this policy would help.
However, these numbers varied by education, as 70% of those with a college or postgraduate degree thought it would help, compared with 52% of those with a high school education or less.
Asked to choose between these two statements — “Immigrants take jobs away from American workers” or “Immigrants do the jobs Americans don’t want to do” — 60% of respondents agreed with the second statement.
— Check out Less Than Half of Americans Confident They’ll Reach Their Retirement Goals: AICPA on ThinkAdvisor.