Gallup: Economic Optimism Highest in D.C.

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While most states' economic confidence showed some improvement in 2013, only the District of Columbia had an overall positive outlook, according to data from Gallup. West Virginia remained the least economically optimistic state.

While every state had an overall negative Economic Confidence Index number, the District of Columbia’s was plus-19. Massachusetts and Minnesota rounded out the top three, with minus-1 and minus-2 ratings, respectively. In West Virginia, the least optimistic state, the index score fell to minus-44, down from minus-42. Alaska had the second-lowest score: minus-32.

(The Gallup Economic Confidence Index is a composite of Americans’ opinions about the current state of the economy and its direction.)

Some states improved drastically. Connecticut jumped 14 points to minus-10, and California gained 13 points and now stands at minus-5, the fourth-highest score nationwide. The biggest losers were South Dakota and the District of Columbia (despite its positive overall number); each lost 10 points as their economic optimism shrunk.

The varied economic outlook could have an effect on the midterm elections. “Candidates running on Republican tickets can attempt to paint this economic dissatisfaction as the fault of the Democratic president,” said Gallup’s Justin McCarthy. “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.”

The results are based on interviews with 178,071 adults conducted in 2013 and have a margin of error of plus or minus one percentage point. 

Adam O'Neal is a political reporter for RealClearPolitics. He can be reached at aoneal@realclearpolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter @RealClearAdam.

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