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Revelations of Sexual Harassment Trigger Optimism for Social Progress


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 rose from 54 in October to 56 in November.

Graphic titled: "Fishlinger Index Optimism Data"

November has again been a relatively moderate month for the Trump administration with a view that tax reform may be passed this year. The stock market continues to hit record highs. President Trump’s two-week trip to Asia went without major incident and North Korea’s latest missile test has yet to have impact.

The sexual harassment scandals dominate the news and have spread beyond Harvey Weinstein to now include Charley Rose, Matt Lauer, Garrison Keillor, and Democratic Senator Al Franken, Democratic congressman John Conyers along with former Alabama state judge and Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore. It is likely there will be more to come.

Graphic titled: "Fishlinger Optimism Sub Monthly Data"

Notably, the only dimension of the Index that rose significantly was Social Progress. This is likely to be somewhat a function of the prompt actions taken in a number of the sexual harassment cases.

Graphic titled: "Fishlinger Optimism Index Dimensions"

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 November 15 – December 15, 2016 and January 3 – November 30,2017. 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 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.