Consumer Sentiment Mixed Among Virginians

May 22, 2013

Credit Roanoke College

Roanoke College is out with a new poll detailing how Virginians view their financial situation and general business conditions now and in the future. 

It’s the second time this year the Institute for Policy and Opinion Research at Roanoke College conducted its consumer sentiment survey, and Senior Analyst Alice Kassens says there were some surprises.

“I was surprised to see the indexes continue to rise in the Tidewater, Northern Virginia.  I thought we’d start to see more about the concerns of sequester showing up.  While I think it’s lingering there a bit in the expectations about the future, the numbers continue to go up.”

While Northern Virginians are optimistic about the current and future economy, residents of Southside and the Shenandoah Valley are another story.  The Virginia Index of Consumer Expectations dropped nearly 10 percent since the first quarter of this year.

“Not quite sure what’s going on there because those are not areas that would be hit by the sequester in the same magnitude that the Tidewater would be.  They do, traditionally, have higher unemployment rates that other areas, so, perhaps labor markets aren’t improving there as fast as other areas.”

According to the report, the views of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents were fairly similar when it came to the current conditions index.  But Kassens says there’s a huge disparity in people’s expectations for the future.  She says Democrats are almost twice as optimistic about future conditions as Republicans.  Roanoke College will conduct another poll for release in August.