Economic confidence is good, but it just hit a new low for the Trump era

Story highlights

  • The Gallup index dropped below zero for the first time since Election Day
  • 2017 is still the best year since the index was created in 2008

Washington (CNN)The public's view of the economy is a very powerful thing. It can make or break presidents. It can flip chambers of Congress. It can mean the difference between re-election and going home.

And, while Americans' views of the economy have recently been higher than they've been for almost a decade, those views, especially looking to the future, may be hanging in the balance.
A key measure of Americans' confidence in the economy has dipped to its lowest level since President Donald Trump was elected last November, according to new numbers from Gallup.
    Gallup's economic confidence index -- a number based on two survey questions that measure Americans' views on the current state of the national economy in the United States as well as the future outlook of whether the economy is getting better or worse -- has dropped into negative territory for the first time since Election Day.
    The strong economy hasn't generated a high approval rating for Trump like it often has for previous presidents, but the question remains whether Trump's low approval rating -- stagnant in the high 30s for months now -- could dip further if the economy started to slow down at all.
    The metric is weighed down by a -11 rating on Americans' views of the economic outlook in the United States, the lowest mark for that component of the index since Trump's election. In the latest weekly survey, a majority of Americans, 53%, said the economy was getting worse, while 42% said the economy is getting better.
    On the current conditions rating, roughly one-third of Americans, 32%, say the economy is excellent or good -- while 23% say the economy is poor. It's the first time that differential has dropped below 10 since July.
    Still, the overall measure remains at one of its highest points in the last decade. The economic confidence index got a major bump after Trump's election, and it's still nearly a dozen points above its overall -11 mark it had immediately before November.
    The rating had previously climbed to a high of 16 in March and later fell to touch zero in early July.
    Gallup didn't start collecting data on this metric until January 2008, when the financial crisis had already begun. It briefly climbed into positive territory in early 2015, but spent most of the Obama years climbing back from a low of -65 near the beginning of his term during the Great Recession.
    The most recent Gallup weekly survey was conducted October 9-15, 2017 among 2,010 adults. The margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points.