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New York Times|SurveyMonkey poll: March 2020

New York Times|SurveyMonkey poll: March 2020

After reaching a new high in February consumer confidence dropped in this month's New York Times|SurveyMonkey poll, coinciding with heightened fears around the novel coronavirus, a deteriorating stock market, and widespread economic disruption.

Forward-looking business expectations are the main culprit for the drop: 39% of people expect very good or somewhat good business conditions in the country as a whole for the next 12 months, down from 45% in February. Worse, 22% of people now expect somewhat or very bad business conditions in the country, up from 14% last month.

Investors see the largest decrease in confidence

Among investors, 44% now say they expect very or somewhat good business conditions for the next 12 months, down from 53% in February; 23% now say they expect very or somewhat bad business conditions, up from 12% in February. Among non-investors, those numbers changed by much smaller margins.

More investors in March than in February say they are worse off now than a year ago (17% vs. 11%), and more too expect to be worse off a year from now than said so last month (15% vs. 9%).

Coronavirus and the economy

Nearly three-quarters of people (73%) are worried that the coronavirus outbreak will have a negative economic effect on the United States. 

  • Democrats are more worried (83%) than Republicans (66%) or independents (75%)
  • Young adults age 18-34 are less worried (67%) than those 35-54 (73%) or 55 and older (78%)
  • People with and without investments in the stock market have about the same levels of concern (75% and 73%)

About half of Americans approve and half disapprove of the way President Trump is handling the federal government’s response to the coronavirus (47% approve, 48% disapprove)—a very slightly more positive outlook than his overall job approval numbers this month (46% approve, 51% disapprove). Just 10% of people who approve of the job he’s doing as president disapprove of his management of the coronavirus situation.

For more detailed results, click through the interactive toplines below.
Read more about our polling methodology here

Question text:
Which one of the following issues matters MOST to you right now?
Would you say that you and your family are better off or worse off financially than you were a year ago?
Now looking ahead - do you think that a year from now you and your family will be better off financially, worse off financially, or just about the same as now?
Now turning to business conditions in the country as a whole - do you think that during the next 12 months we'll have good or bad times financially?
Looking ahead, which would you say is more likely to take place in the next five years for the country as a whole:
Thinking about the big things people buy for their homes - such as furniture, a stove, a television… Generally speaking, do you think now is a good or bad time for people to buy major household items?
How worried are you that you or someone in your family will be exposed to the coronavirus?
How worried are you that there will be an outbreak of coronavirus in the United States?
How worried are you that the coronavirus outbreak will have a negative economic effect on the United States?
Have you taken any of the following steps because of the coronavirus? (Select all that apply)
Do you approve or disapprove of the way President Trump is handling the federal government’s response to the coronavirus?

(Among Democrats and Democratic leaners) Regardless of whom you may support, which of the 2020 Democratic presidential election candidates do you trust most to handle the economy?
(Among Democrats and Democratic leaners) Regardless of whom you may support, which of the 2020 Democratic presidential election candidates do you trust most to handle healthcare?
(Among Democrats and Democratic leaners) Regardless of whom you may support, which of the 2020 Democratic presidential election candidates do you trust most to handle international affairs?
Joe Biden / Bernie Sanders / Elizabeth Warren / Pete Buttigieg / Michael Bloomberg / Andrew Yang / Julian Castro / Cory Booker / Amy Klobuchar / Tom Steyer / Tulsi Gabbard / Marianne Williamson / Kamala Harris / Steve Bullock / John Delaney / Michael Bennet / Deval Patrick
*voters