One of the biggest political puzzles of 2014 is why the public remains so bearish about the economy, and in turn critical of Barack Obama’s stewardship of it, given clear signs that economic indicators are improving.
First, they have been finding for the last few presidential administrations that perceptions of the economy are linked to party affiliation. That trend still holds. What is curious is that Pew thinks it is curious. It makes perfect sense, really. If your guy is in power, you are probably going to be pleased with how he’s running the place. If the economy is strong, it’s because of him. If it’s weak, he’s doing the right thing to make it better. So, the partisan gap isn’t surprising.
Secondly, they report a gap in perceptions of personal finances that correlates with education:
For example, college grads now size up their finances roughly as well as they did before the Great Recession took a toll on their outlook. In contrast, personal financial assessments of the less well-educated Americans have not improved as the economy has recovered after the Great Recession.
But again, this roughly reflects what’s happened. People with college degrees have tended to do better, both before the recession and after. The assessment of the non-college graduates is probably realistic: more unemployment, longer unemployment, lower wages, etc.
I’d be really interested in similar surveying for New Zealand and Australia. UMR Research, for example, has the Mood of the Nation survey. The reports on their site don’t break down results by demographics, though.