Overall Consumer Sentiment Unchanged Hovering at Balanced Optimism/Pessimism

grocery store
  • Nation, NY Down 18 Points Across 2020
  • Election Results: Democrats’ Sentiment Up 12 Points; Republicans Fall by 14
  • Plans to Purchase Homes Set Another Record – 13%; Gas Price Concerns Edge Higher

Press Release     Summary Trends     Buying Plans     Gas and Food

Loudonville, NY – The New York State Index of Consumer Sentiment in the fourth quarter of 2020 stands at 74.8 up 0.4 points from the last measurement in the third quarter of 2020, according to the latest poll by the Siena College Research Institute (SCRI). New York’s overall Index of Consumer Sentiment is 5.9 points below the nation’s* Index of 80.7. All three indexes for New York held steady or rose slightly this quarter and are approaching, or in the case of the future index exceeded, their breakeven points at which optimism and pessimism balance. The national indexes were little changed but as the national future outlook fell slightly, New Yorkers now are more optimistic about future economic conditions than the nation as a whole.

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“First glance tells us that consumer sentiment, up less than a point this quarter, is little changed but like so many things it depends upon party registration. Democrats are now far more bullish about economic conditions as their index soared by nearly 12 points overall and by almost 15 points on the future score. Republicans whose index last quarter was 17 points higher than Democrats, now are pointed in the pessimistic direction falling 14 points and trailing Democrats by nearly 9 points. Despite COVID, Democrats are now only down 3 points from last winter while Republicans are down 32 points,” according to Dr. Doug Lonnstrom, professor of statistics and finance at Siena College and SCRI Founding Director.

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In the fourth quarter of 2020, all buying plans were up from the third quarter of 2020 measurement, for cars/trucks to 20.7% (from 19.5%), consumer electronics to 49.6% (from 46.6%), furniture to 29.7% (from 27.6%), homes at 13.4% (from 12.6%), and major home improvements to 27.5% (from 26.5%).

Thirty-four percent (up from 30 percent) of all New Yorkers say that current gasoline prices are having a very serious or somewhat serious impact on their financial condition. Fifty-seven percent (down from 59 percent) of state residents indicate that the amount of money they spend on groceries is having either a very serious or somewhat serious impact on their finances.

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This Siena College Poll was conducted Dec 10-16, 2020 by random telephone calls to 404 New York adults via landline and cell phones and 400 responses drawn from a proprietary online panel of New Yorkers. Respondent sampling via phone was initiated by asking for the youngest person in the household. The overall results has an overall margin of error of +/- 3.9 percentage points including the design effects resulting from weighting when applied to buying plans and/or the perceived impacts of gas and food prices. As consumer sentiment is expressed as an index number developed after statistical calculations to a series of questions, “margin of error” does not apply to those indices. Telephone sampling was conducted via a stratified dual frame probability sample of landline (from ASDE Survey Sampler) and cell phone (from Dynata) telephone numbers from within New York State weighted to reflect known population patterns. Data from the telephone and web samples were blended and statistically adjusted by age, race/ethnicity, gender and party to ensure representativeness. The Siena College Research Institute, directed by Donald Levy, Ph.D., conducts political, economic, social and cultural research primarily in NYS. SCRI, an independent, non-partisan research institute, subscribes to the American Association of Public Opinion Research Code of Professional Ethics and Practices. For more information or comments, please call Dr. Doug Lonnstrom at 518-783-2362. Survey cross-tabulations and buying plans can be found at www.siena.edu/scri/cci.