Back to News National Leadership and Personal Prosperity Fall in February

National Leadership and Personal Prosperity Fall in February


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 College of Mount Saint Vincent fell slightly from 61 in January to 59 in February ’18.

Graphic titled "Fishlinger Optimism Index"

The stock market’s precipitous correction coupled with lingering problems for the administration due to the Mueller investigation triggered the fall in overall Optimism and National Leadership and a significant fall in perceived Personal Prosperity. National Leadership fell from 44 to 39 and Personal Prosperity fell from 65 to 58 reflecting the recent volatility and guilty pleas.

Graphic titled "Fishlinger Optimism Index tm"

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
In this study, the Fishlinger Center conducted online national surveys focusing on political issues in the United States. The fieldwork for the poll was conducted using a blended national panel form Survey Sampling, Inc. Interviews were conducted February 1-28, 2018. The credibility interval for 1,000 respondents is plus or minus four percentage points. The credibility interval is larger for subgroups and for differences between polls.

In addition to the 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 College 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 College 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 College of Mount Saint Vincent
Founded in 1847 by the Sisters of Charity, the College 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.