Iowans optimistic about personal economic security, skeptical of national economy, Iowa Poll finds – DesMoinesRegister.com

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A new Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll showed Iowans are optimistic about the state economy, but are a little more wary of the national economy. Wochit

 

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Iowans — and Republicans in particular — say they’re optimistic about the state’s economy and their own sense of personal economic security, a new Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll shows. 

But they’re less confident about the direction things are going nationally. 

While 61 percent of poll respondents think their own economic security will be better off a year from now and 62 percent expect the Iowa economy to improve, far fewer — 49 percent — expect the national economy will get better. 

“The work ethic in the Midwest and in this state is unbelievable compared with going south or going west,” said Jim Bonert, a 65-year-old insurance salesman from Dyersville. “That’s what we have going for us.”

Bonert, an independent who voted for Donald Trump for president, said he’s sold insurance for 38 years and has worked hard to provide for his family. He said his family buys only things they can pay for with cash, and he’s confident in their economic security despite the problems he sees at the national level. 

In Washington, he said, all he sees is gridlock. 

“The national economy is walking on eggs, because Democrats have stopped every attempt to make things work better,” he said. “And the Republicans don’t know crap either.”

Ruth Balster, an 84-year-old Cedar Rapids resident and a Democrat, said she’s concerned about the federal government’s budget priorities. Building an expensive border wall with Mexico and beefing up the military while cutting back on other areas would be misguided, she said.

But here at home, with Iowa boasting an unemployment rate of 3.1 percent in May, she doesn’t see too much reason to worry. 

“Iowa’s unemployment rate is very, very low, and the farm economy I think is stabilizing,” she said. “The manufacturing — (Rockwell Collins) and some of the others — I think will be doing OK. So I guess I don’t see any really big problems.”

The poll of 800 Iowa adults, conducted July 9-13 by Selzer and Co., has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

Tyler Witzke, a 21-year-old Republican from Arthur, said he expects things to get better this year at both the state and national level. 

“I think just having a little bit more conservative president in office is going to be good for us,” he said. “I think health care is going to (get better), gun rights is a big one for me because I am interning at a gun rights organization right now, and I think quality of living will go up.”

Coming off an election year in which they gained control of the White House and the state Legislature, Iowa Republicans generally are far more optimistic about the future than their Democratic counterparts, the new poll found. 

Democrats are more likely than Republicans to say they expect things to be worse off in one year when it comes to personal economic security, Iowa’s economy, the national economy, the combative atmosphere in Congress, the situation in the Middle East and their ability to afford health care and health insurance.

The only question where a majority of Republicans, Democrats and independents all see things getting better in the next year is a highly personal one: their satisfaction with finding or keeping a life partner. Seventy-one percent of Iowans like their prospects; just 13 percent expect things will get worse.

But even on that question, fewer Democrats are optimistic (61 percent) than independents (73 percent) or Republicans (76 percent).   

Democrats are particularly pessimistic about the national economy: 72 percent say they expect it to be worse off in one year. 

“Right now, we are under the President Obama budget,” said Wanda Fritz, a 68-year-old retired program manager and a Democrat from West Burlington. “Trump’s budget hasn’t even kicked in yet,” she said, expressing fear that things will get worse when it does.

Republicans, Democrats and independents alike are skeptical that Congress can overcome its current gridlock. 

Sixty-seven percent of poll respondents think the combative atmosphere in Congress will get worse — up from 60 percent of Iowans who said the same thing in a February 2013 Iowa Poll. 

“Those people, all they want to do is keep their job,” said Bonert, the independent. “They don’t care about the country. And I don’t care what party they are — I don’t have faith in any of them.”

Eighty-one percent of Democrats expect the atmosphere in Congress to grow increasingly combative — significantly more than the 71 percent of independents and 52 percent of Republicans who say the same thing.

But that doesn’t mean Democrats think electing Hillary Clinton as president in place of Trump would have helped. 

“I think that would have presented huge problems,” said Balster, noting that Republicans who control both houses of Congress would be even less likely to work with a president who’s a Democrat. 

But she does think electing Clinton would have helped alleviate her concerns with other things, like the state of the national economy. 

“I think that the budget would have been different, so from that standpoint, I think it might have been (better),” Balster said. “… There would have been more concern for the little guy.” 

About the poll

The Iowa Poll, conducted July 9-13 for The Des Moines Register and Mediacom by Selzer & Co. of Des Moines, is based on telephone interviews with 800 Iowans ages 18 or older. Interviewers with Quantel Research contacted households with randomly selected landline and cell phone numbers supplied by Survey Sampling International. Interviews were administered in English. Responses were adjusted by age and sex to reflect the general population based on recent census data.

Questions based on the sample of 800 Iowa adults have a maximum margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. This means that if this survey were repeated using the same questions and the same methodology, 19 times out of 20, the findings would not vary from the percentages shown here by more than plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. Results based on smaller samples of respondents — such as by gender or age— have a larger margin of error.

Republishing the copyright Iowa Poll without credit to The Des Moines Register and Mediacom is prohibited.

Mobile readers: Click here to see methodology.

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