Democrats, Republicans and independents are hearing very different economic news

September 11, 2012

In my New Yorker report exploring how partisans formulate (and change) their opinions, I leaned heavily on research by Vanderbilt's Larry Bartels, among others, showing that Republicans and Democrats tend to believe the economy is doing better when their team is in power and worse when the other team is in power. A new Pew poll shows this is happening right now:

With the election less than two months away, partisan differences in views of economic news have become wider than ever... Just 15% of Democrats say recent economic news is mostly bad, down from 31% a month ago and among the lowest percentages over the last four years. Six-in-ten Republicans (60%) say news about the economy is mostly bad, as do 36% of independents. Opinions among Republicans and independents are largely unchanged from a month ago.

It's interesting that the closer we've gotten to Election Day, the more these views have diverged along partisan lines. In August 2011, Republicans, Democrats and independents said they were hearing very similar things about the economy. By August 2012, Democrats and independents were hearing very different news than Republicans. And this month, Democrats and independents began to turn in different directions, with the number of Democrats who say they're hearing "mostly bad news" dropping by almost half.

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Brad Plumer · September 11, 2012