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The February Fishlinger Optimism Index™ Suggests Americans Less Optimistic About Future


The new Fishlinger Optimism Index™, a breakthrough measurement of public opinion centered on Americans’ optimism about the future from the Fishlinger Center for Public Policy Research at the University of Mount Saint Vincent, indicates that Americans’ concerns about national leadership, social progress, and personal prosperity increased significantly from January to February of this year.

These results are a marked contrast to comparable indices indicating greater consumer confidence in recent months.

Unlike other indices, the Fishlinger Optimism Index™ is more than an economic measurement. It is built from optimism data on social/political issues, beliefs about the United States’ place in the world, and a series of value statements dealing with individuals’ feelings of success and security, as well as from ratings of government policies and public officials.

In measuring national leadership, the Fishlinger Optimism Index™ assesses public expectations for the effectiveness of federal policy and quality of governance both domestically and in global affairs. Social progress examines the potential for progressive reform. Personal prosperity explores individuals’ sense of achievement and economic stability.

The data from the comprehensive Fishlinger Optimism Index™ signifies there may be continued fall off in confidence and sentiment in the near future.

Fishlinger Optimism Index tm. 70 63
        Federal policy 55 53
        National leadership 57 47
        Social progress 55 46
        Personal prosperity 62 51
        World affairs 60 60
Confidence Index tm. 1 111.6 114.8
Sentiment Index tm.2 98.5 96.3
Expectations Index tm.3 90.3 86.5

Survey Methodology
In this study, the Fishlinger Center conducted online national surveys focusing on political issues in the United States. The fieldwork for the polls was conducted using a blended national panel form Survey Sampling, Inc. Interviews were conducted November 30-December 15, 2016 and January 3-3 with 1,000 adults and February 20-23 with 257 adults. The credibility interval for 1,000 respondents is plus or minus 4 percentage points. The credibility interval is larger for subgroups and for differences between polls.

In addition to credibility interval, the polls are subject to other potential sources of error including, but not limited to, coverage and measurement error. Data was rim weighted to match the national population on age, sex, Hispanic origin, and race. Question wording and topline results are available at

About the Fishlinger Center for Public Policy
The Fishlinger Center for Public Policy Research opened in February 2015 at the University of Mount Saint Vincent.  The Center conducts deep and broad studies of public opinion on key public policy concerns through independent and objective research conducted by students, faculty, and other members of the academic community.

By providing a forum for discourse that can stimulate intelligent dialog about issues that deeply affect all Americans, the Center illustrates and enhances the relationship between the work of the College and the common good.

James F. Donius, Ph.D., Director of the Fishlinger Center for Public Policy Research at the University of Mount Saint Vincent, is available to speak to members of the press about the survey, the Fishlinger Optimism Index™, and the Center. To arrange an interview, or for more information about the study, please contact Public Relations at

About the University of Mount Saint Vincent
Founded in 1847 by the Sisters of Charity, the University of Mount Saint Vincent offers nationally recognized liberal arts education and a select array of professional fields of study on a landmark campus overlooking the Hudson River. Committed to the education of the whole person, and enriched by the unparalleled cultural, educational and career opportunities of New York City, the College equips students with the knowledge, skills and experiences necessary for lives of achievement, professional accomplishment and leadership in the 21st century.