While Americans' confidence in the economy remains stronger than it was before the 2016 presidential election, it is not as strong as it was earlier this year. Though still historically high, confidence in the economy declined to a six-month low in May, largely dragged down by Democrats' worsening economic attitudes. Gallup's Economic Confidence Index (ECI) averaged a score of plus 3 in May, down slightly from April (plus 5) but eight points below January's record high of plus 11. Since the November presidential election, many Americans' attitudes about the economy have dramatically improved. Both the weekly and monthly averages of the ECI now consistently produce positive figures rather than negative ones, as it largely did before the election.
The sharp uptick in economic confidence after the election was largely attributable to surging confidence among Republicans. However, over the past few months confidence has fallen as economic attitudes of self-identified Democrats have worsened - a trend that continued in May as Democrats' monthly index score fell to minus 26. This represents a five-point dip from April's average and the lowest monthly index score for Democrats since November 2011 when confidence was recovering from the tumble it took during the standoff between Congress and former President Barack Obama over raising the federal debt ceiling.
However, independents' economic ratings have also dipped in recent months. After peaking at plus 5 in January, independents' index score fell into negative territory in April, when it averaged minus 1. It remained negative in May with the score reaching minus 3.
Even as some Americans become more pessimistic about the economy overall, attitudes about the economy's current conditions have been relatively stable. Meanwhile, perceptions about the economy's outlook have more clearly deteriorated. In May, slightly more Americans (49 percent) said the economy was "getting worse" than said it was "getting better" (45 percent). The economic outlook component stood at minus 4 for the month, representing a slight dip from April when the component averaged minus 1, and it is down notably from its record high in January of plus 11.