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Consumer Sentiment Soured in First Half of November

Americans’ outlook on the economy soured in the two weeks straddling the national elections, as Republicans grew more pessimistic and Democrats worried about a surge in coronavirus infections, according to survey findings released Friday.
The University of Michigan’s index of consumer sentiment dropped to 77.0 in the two weeks ended Nov. 10, from 81.8 in October. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected a reading of 81.5. The index of expectations drove the decline, falling to 71.3 from 79.2 in October.
The index is the first read on consumer attitudes since President-elect Joe Biden’s victory and President Trump’s campaign launched efforts to contest the election results, which came amid rising coronavirus infections and hospitalizations.
“Interviews conducted following the election recorded a substantial negative shift in the Expectations Index among Republicans, but recorded no gain among Democrats,” said Richard Curtin, the survey’s chief economist.
Republicans’ economic outlook in early November fell to levels not seen since President Trump was sworn in, said Mr. Curtin. Meanwhile, Democrats’ worries about the coronavirus resurgence likely offset any increased optimism about the economy, he said. Nearly 60% of Democrats reported that the pandemic had dramatically changed their daily lives, compared with just 34% among Republicans.
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