Peterson: With Primaries Near, Majority Of Voters Want Leaders To Focus On Fiscal Future

Tuesday, January 26, 2016
Peterson: With Primaries Near, Majority Of Voters Want Leaders To Focus On Fiscal Future 
The Peter G. Peterson Foundation’s January Fiscal Confidence Index, a monthly measure of public attitudes about the nation’s long-term debt and the efforts elected leaders are making to address America’s fiscal challenges, shows that a significant majority of Americans remain concerned about the nation’s fiscal future. The Fiscal Confidence Index, modeled after the Consumer Confidence Index, is 53 (100 is neutral), indicating voters’ desire to see candidates offer a plan to put the nation on a sustainable long-term path.
With Presidential primaries and caucuses starting next month, voters widely agree that the debt should be among the top three priorities for the President and Congress (78% agree/18% disagree, including 54% who agree strongly). This sentiment extends across party lines, as clear majorities of the Democratic (70% agree) and Republican (89% agree) voters rate it as a top priority. Overall, 65% of voters say their concern about the national debt has increased in recent years.
"As voting and caucusing begins in the 2016 election, Americans understand that getting our fiscal house in order is essential to securing a more prosperous economic future," said Michael A. Peterson, President and CEO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation. "This election season, voters expect their candidates to put forward a plan to address these long-term challenges, and put the nation on a sustainable fiscal path."
The Fiscal Confidence Index measures public opinion about the national debt by asking six questions in three key areas:
  • CONCERN: Level of concern and views about the direction of the national debt.
  • PRIORITY: How high a priority addressing the debt should be for elected leaders.
  • EXPECTATIONS: Expectations about whether the debt situation will get better or worse in the next few years.
The survey results from these three areas are weighted equally and averaged to produce the Fiscal Confidence Index value. The Fiscal Confidence Index, like the Consumer Confidence Index, is indexed on a scale of 0 to 200, with a neutral midpoint of 100. A reading above 100 indicates positive sentiment. A reading below 100 indicates negative sentiment.

Full survey results on PGPF website.
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