Open primary navigation menu

The Fishlinger Optimism Index Levels Off


The 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, leveled off at 54 in October. Previously, the Index recovered slightly in September, moving from 48 in August to 55 in September.

Graphic titled: "Fighlinger Optimism Index tm"

October was a relatively moderate month for the Trump administration with the approval of the proposed budget leading to optimism that tax reform may be passed this year. The stock market continues to hit record highs. The hostilities with North Korea and questions about the Iran nuclear deal seem to have taken a back seat to Hollywood’s Weinstein sexual harassment scandal and Catalonia’s referendum to separate from Spain. However, there has been public discord within the party and resignations of Republican senators, as well as some controversy over the President’s handling of the hurricane relief in Puerto Rico. The impact of the indictment of President Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, for allegedly coordinating with the Russian government to damage presidential election candidate Hillary Clinton, is playing out and will be reflected in the November poll.

Perceptions of National Leadership and Social Progress increased slightly during October. Other dimensions remained steady.

Graphic titled: "Fighlinger Optimism Sub Monthly Data"

The Fishlinger Optimism Index™ is more than an economic measurement. It is built on opinion data for public officials, 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 officials.

In measuring national leadership, 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.

Survey Methodology
The Fishlinger Center conducts online national surveys focusing on political issues in the United States. The fieldwork for the polls is conducted using a blended national panel from Survey Sampling Inc. Interviews were conducted September 5-29, 2017. For a sample of 1,000, the credibility interval is plus or minus four 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 were 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.