MassINC Poll: Economic anxieties persist among Bay State residents despite growing economy

Consumer sentiment numbers, among other findings, in the MPG Quarterly Trend Monitor

BOSTON—Despite strong statewide economic growth in the first quarter, Massachusetts residents are still anxious about their economic prospects and confidence in the recovery has slipped, according to a new statewide poll released today by The MassINC Polling Group (MPG).  The numbers are part of MPG’s Quarterly Trend Monitor which tracks a number of dynamics over time including direction of the state, and favorability for key leaders. 

The quarterly Index of Consumer Sentiment fell from 73.3 to 68.0, partly on declining expectations about the near term business environment.  Just 35 percent see good times for business in the year ahead, while 53 percent say the year ahead will bring bad times for business.  This is a shift from January, when residents were split 43/43 on whether the year ahead would be good or bad for business.

This decline mirrored national trends, where the ICS fell from 77.5 in February to 67.5 in March, one of the largest monthly declines on record.  (See attached for more information on the Index of Consumer Sentiment). 

“This disconnect shows us that, while the State is seeing economic growth, consumers still see trouble ahead,” said Steve Koczela, President of The MassINC Polling Group. 

Pessimism about the economy as a whole is more pronounced than concerns about a continuing deterioration of personal finances.  While 45 percent say they have lost financial ground in the last year, only 20 percent expect the year ahead to be worse for their family.  Most believe the year ahead will be the same (52%) or better (25%) from a financial standpoint.  On a broader level, however, just 32 percent say the next five years will bring good times for the country as a whole, while 55 percent see widespread unemployment or depression ahead.

In other results released today:

  • A slight plurality see the state as headed in the right direction (47%) rather than off on the wrong track (41%), similar to the figures from the January 2011 MPG poll.
  • Scott Brown is seen favorably by half (50%) of state residents, while Deval Patrick (54%), John Kerry (56%), and Joe Kennedy (60%) are each seen favorably by the majority of state residents.
  • The Tea Party’s net unfavorables remained about steady, at 29 percent viewing it favorably and 47 percent unfavorably.

About the Poll

These results are based on questions from the MassINC Polling Group statewide omnibus poll of 500 Massachusetts residents, conducted April 27-30, 2011. Live telephone interviews were conducted via both landline and cell phone. Interviews were conducted in both English and Spanish by Eastern Research Services. The margin of sampling error is +/- 4.4 percent with a 95 percent level of confidence

About The MassINC Polling Group

The MassINC Polling Group (MPG) is an independent, non-partisan organization providing public opinion research and analysis to public, private, and social sector clients. As a subsidiary of the think tank MassINC, MPG is uniquely objective, and thoroughly informed in local, state and national public affairs, as well as consumer-oriented market research. For more information visit

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