Republicans More Anxious Than Democrats Over Economy, Leadership

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However, overall anxiety has dropped to pre-Recession levels according to a new AnxietyIndex report from JWT.

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The anger among Republicans is palpable, especially around taxes and pieces of legislation. And this anger has turned to anxiety, with outsized Republican anxiety around the economy and the current administration

Republicans are more anxious than Democrats when it comes to the U.S. economy and political leadership. However, the overall anxiety level of Americans has returned to levels not seen since late 2007, according to the AnxietyIndex quantitative research report released today by JWT, the world’s best-known marketing communications brand.

Seventy percent of Americans report being nervous or anxious. This is down from 76 percent in May and 82 percent in November 2008—which was the all-time high, per an online study, fielded Oct. 18-25. It surveyed 519 Americans aged 18-plus to examine attitudes and behaviors in the run-up to the midterm elections, looking for variations by political affiliation. This is the 20th installment of JWT’s seven-year-old proprietary AnxietyIndex, which was launched during the run-up to the Iraq war to track the level and intensity of consumer anxiety and the drivers of it.

This is a significant finding for marketers, who have been waiting for the American consumer psyche to shift into closer alignment with GDP figures, and who are hoping for an upward swing to follow the midterm elections.

However, when it comes to political leadership, anxiety about leadership is up by one-third. Anxiety around political leadership and the state of the economy is much more pronounced for Republicans than it is for Democrats and independents.

Republicans - 91% Anxious About the Economy - 90% Anxious About Our Political Leadership
Independents - 82% Anxious About the Economy - 62% Anxious About Our Political Leadership
Democrats - 73%    Anxious About the Economy - 57% Anxious About Our Political Leadership

Republicans are far more worried about Democrats maintaining control of Congress than Democrats are worried about Republicans taking control, and they believe various factors worsen with Democrats in control. For instance, 82 percent of Republicans said their tax burden would get worse if the Democrats maintain control versus 49 percent of Democrats who said the same of Republicans assuming the majority. Nearly 80 percent of Republicans said legislation would get worse if Democrats retain control, compared with 53 percent of Democrats who said the same of Republicans.

Similarly, Republicans are far more energized around the idea of their party assuming control than the Democrats are about keeping control, and Republicans believe various factors will improve if they become the majority. Fifty-seven percent of Republicans said their taxes would improve if their party takes control versus 20 percent of Democrats who said the same if Democrats maintain the majority; 63 percent of Republicans said legislation would improve if their party takes control of Congress compared to 30 percent of Democrats who said the same of their party.

“The anger among Republicans is palpable, especially around taxes and pieces of legislation. And this anger has turned to anxiety, with outsized Republican anxiety around the economy and the current administration,” said Ann Mack, Director of Trendspotting at JWT. “Democrats, on the other hand, feel more satisfied—or possibly more complacent—with where the country is today. The sense of urgency to change leadership that the Democrats felt during the presidential election two years ago has been seized upon by the Republicans.”

Indeed, Republicans are more tuned in to this election than Democrats or Independents: 54 percent said they are following it more closely than past elections versus about a quarter of Democrats and independents. And Republicans are more apt to see it as a bitter fight: two-thirds say this election is more contentious than past elections, compared with 46 percent of Democrats and 51 percent of independents.

Where does the Tea Party come in? While 54 percent of Americans are familiar with the beliefs and goals of the movement, many have yet to make up their minds about it, with 48 percent saying they neither oppose nor support the political upstart. But a sizable minority of independents say they support the Tea Party (35 percent); unsurprisingly, Republicans are driving the party’s momentum (58 percent are in support of it), while only 12 percent of Democrats claim support.

For the full report visit: anxietyindex.com/trends-and-research/

About JWT

JWT is the world’s best-known marketing communications brand. Headquartered in New York, JWT is a true global network with more than 200 offices in over 90 countries employing nearly 10,000 marketing professionals.

JWT consistently ranks among the top agency networks in the world and continues its dominant presence in the industry by staying on the leading edge—from producing the first-ever TV commercial in 1939 to developing award-winning branded content for brands such as Freixenet, Ford and HSBC.

JWT’s pioneering spirit enables the agency to forge deep relationships with clients including Bayer, Bloomberg, Cadbury, Diageo, DTC, Ford, HSBC, Johnson & Johnson, Kellogg’s, Kimberly-Clark, Kraft, Microsoft, Nestlé, Nokia, Rolex, Royal Caribbean, Schick, Shell, Unilever, Vodafone and many others. JWT’s parent company is WPP (NASDAQ: WPPGY).

Contact:
Kenneth Hein
212.210.6078
kenneth.hein(at)jwt(dot)com

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