Americans divided on the security of the economic system


A decade after the 2008 financial crisis, the public is roughly evenly divided on whether America’s economic system is safer today than it was then. About half of Americans (48%) say the system is safer today than it was before the 2008 crisis, while about as many (46%) say it is no more sure.

Opinions have changed since 2015 and 2013, when majorities said the economic system was no safer than it was before the crisis (63% in both years), according to the new survey conducted from 18 to September 24 with 1,754 adults.

Republicans are now much more likely to view the system as safer than they were during Barack Obama’s presidency. Three years ago, just 22% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents said the economic system was safer than before the crisis. Today, the share that says the same thing has increased by 48 percentage points to 70%.

Opinions among Democrats and Democrat-leaning independents have moved in the opposite direction. Today, Democrats are less convinced that the economy is safer than it was before the 2008 financial crisis: only a third say the economy is safer – a drop of 13 percentage points from compared to 2015 (46%).

Republicans continue to be much more optimistic than Democrats about the economy

Meanwhile, public views on current economic conditions – and the trajectory of the U.S. economy over the next year – have changed little since March.

About half of Americans (51%) now rate the national economy as excellent or good, among the most positive measures in nearly two decades.

As has been the case since Donald Trump came to power, Republicans are much more positive than Democrats about economic conditions: 73% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say economic conditions are great or good while only 35% of Democrats and Democrats agree.

Partisan differences over personal finance are wider today than during Obama's presidency

Supporters are also divided in their expectations for the economy. Republicans (57%) are much more likely than Democrats (12%) to say they expect the national economy to improve next year. The differences in partisan views on the economy – current and future – are about as wide as they were in March.

Likewise, there has been little recent change in the views of Americans about their own financial situation. About half (49%) say their finances are great or good.

Partisan differences in people’s assessments of their personal finances, which were modest during most of Obama’s presidency, have grown since then.

A majority of Republicans (61%) say their personal finances are great or good, compared to about four in ten lean Democrats and Democrats (41%).

Most Americans remain optimistic about their personal financial future. Almost seven in ten adults (68%) expect their financial situation to improve a little or a lot over the next year. Republicans (79%) more than Democrats (59%) are optimistic about improving their finances next year.

Note: View the full results and methodology here (PDF).

Amina dunn is a research analyst focusing on US politics and politics at the Pew Research Center.


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