Effect of the Election on Consumer Confidence: Drop Among GOP Consumers While Democrats’ Sentiment Holds Steady

Morning Consult Index of Consumer Sentiment among Republicans fell 7.6 points from Tuesday to Wednesday
A polling station in Atlanta on Election Day. Morning Consult's Index of Consumer Sentiment among U.S. Republicans from Tuesday to Wednesday. Meanwhile, Democrats' consumer confidence was steady. (Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)
November 05, 2020 at 2:00 pm UTC
  • Republicans grew less confident in the economy in the wake of the election, while confidence among Democrats remained unchanged. The daily Morning Consult Index of Consumer Sentiment among U.S. Republicans dropped 7.6 points from Tuesday to Wednesday, ending the day at 106.3. Confidence among Democrats stayed constant at 83.2, after increasing 4.6 points in the lead-up to the election from Nov. 1 to Nov. 3.
  • Even after accounting for daily volatility, the movement on Wednesday among Republicans was meaningful. Daily values exhibit greater volatility than seven-day moving averages reported on a weekly basis. In October, the month immediately prior to the election, the standard deviation of the ICS among Republicans was 1.6 points. Wednesday's change was 4.8 times the standard deviation, meaning that it is highly statistically significant.
  • The long-term economic impact of these changes remains unclear. Trends in Morning Consult’s ICS have consistently captured trends in consumer spending, particularly since the onset of the pandemic. If the 2020 election marks the beginning of a period in which consumers of different political parties interpret economic developments increasingly differently, then the strength of the consumer may increasingly depend on consumers’ political views. However, if history is an indicator of the future, confidence among Republican and Democrat consumers is likely to exhibit similar longer-term trends once the election results become clearer.
A headshot photograph of John Leer
John Leer
Chief Economist

John Leer leads Morning Consult’s global economic research, overseeing the company’s economic data collection, validation and analysis. He is an authority on the effects of consumer preferences, expectations and experiences on purchasing patterns, prices and employment.

John continues to advance scholarship in the field of economics, recently partnering with researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland to design a new approach to measuring consumers’ inflation expectations.

This novel approach, now known as the Indirect Consumer Inflation Expectations measure, leverages Morning Consult’s high-frequency survey data to capture unique insights into consumers’ expectations for future inflation.

Prior to Morning Consult, John worked for Promontory Financial Group, offering strategic solutions to financial services firms on matters including credit risk modeling and management, corporate governance, and compliance risk management.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and philosophy with honors from Georgetown University and a master’s degree in economics and management studies (MEMS) from Humboldt University in Berlin. 

His analysis has been cited in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, The Washington Post, The Economist and more.

Follow him on Twitter @JohnCLeer. For speaking opportunities and booking requests, please email [email protected]

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