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Poll: Economic Optimism Sinks to Three-Year Low

On the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, July 2018. (File photo: Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

Optimism about the U.S. economy dipped to its lowest level in three years during the third quarter of this year as fears of a possible downturn continue to loom.

Only 23 percent of Americans believe the economy will improve during the next year, while 32 percent believe it will become worse, according to CNBC’s All-America Economic Survey.

Only about 36 percent of Americans foresee their wages rising in the next year, the lowest level since before Trump was elected president. Around 35 percent said now is a good time to invest.

The poll represents the first time during President Trump’s administration that more Americans are pessimistic than optimistic about the future of the economy, as measured by CNBC.

Several factors appear to have contributed to the public’s deflated confidence in the economy. About 56 percent of Republicans said they were concerned about how the ongoing impeachment inquiry could affect the economy, while only 26 percent of Democrats said they were concerned about the potentially negative effects.

However, the public’s appraisal of the current economy was more cheerful, 48 percent saying they see the current economy as excellent or good while only one percent more, 49 percent, believe the economy is fair or poor. In May, a slight majority, 51 percent, said they saw the economy as excellent or good.

“October 2018 was the apex of the Trump economy,” said Micah Roberts, CNBC’s Republican pollster. “There might be a new apex, but so far, that has been the point at which everything was going the best.”

“This could be the beginning of a new Trump economy,” he added.

“It was a bad quarter all around,” Jay Campbell, CNBC’s Democratic pollster said. “If there is going to be a turning point in this presidency, you can look back at this quarter and say this was it.”

CNBC’s poll surveyed 800 Americans last week and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

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