Latest Peterson Fiscal Confidence Index Shows Little Confidence

The Peterson Foundation has been releasing a Fiscal Confidence Index every month since December of last year, an index which measures public opinions about the federal government's fiscal policy. Its latest results for the month of August show the same picture since it was first introduced: little confidence from the public on the issue of debt.

Overall, the index scored a 43 on a 200 point scale, with 200 being the most positive score, a slight dip from July's score of 45. Respondents (1,002 registered voters) were asked six questions in three categories about their concern over the debt, how much of a priority addressing it is, and what their expectations are going forward. The specific results showed that the public is very concerned about the debt and thinks that lawmakers should spend more time addressing it. However, they were more mixed on whether they would make progress on the debt in the next few years, with about the same number of people being somewhat or very optimistic as they were somewhat or very pessimistic.

The index has stayed very stable since its initial dip from December 2012 after the fiscal cliff deal passed. You can see what has happened to it since it was established below.

The Fiscal Confidence Index has changed little since we last discussed it at the end of April. That's not surprising since there has been little fiscal progress, and the appropriations process fell apart earlier this month. Still, the fall may prove to be a pivotal moment to see whether lawmakers can improve our fiscal picture or continue to kick the can down the road.