Consumer confidence is up among Hispanics in the U.S., who are optimistic about their financial situation going into 2018 despite continued dissatisfaction with U.S. President Donald Trump, according to a new national consumer sentiment index conducted by the Florida Atlantic University Business and Economics Polling Initiative (FAU BEPI) in the College of Business.
The Hispanic Consumer Sentiment Index (HCSI), taken from October through December 2017, stands at 93.5, up 1.5 points from the third quarter of 2017, and up 3.6 points from the first quarter. The index is 2.4 points below the 95.9 score for the overall U.S. population for December, as published by the University of Michigan.
Throughout 2017, Hispanics consistently expressed (65-68 percent) they were financially better off than a year ago. A majority of Hispanics stated they are optimistic of their financial situation in the year ahead (from 60 in the first quarter, peaking at 78 in the second quarter, and finishing at 71 in the last quarter).
Hispanics began and ended 2017 with a similar view of business conditions, with 57 percent expecting business conditions to be good and 43 percent thinking things will worsen. Hispanics became increasingly optimistic throughout 2017 regarding the economic outlook of the country in the next five years from 45 percent in the first quarter expecting good times financially, slowly increasing to 52 percent in the last quarter.
"Pocketbook issues such as the price of gas at the pump might be fueling Hispanic confidence," said Monica Escaleras, Ph.D., director of FAU BEPI.
President Trump's approval rating among Hispanics rose slightly from 31 to 33 percent in the fourth quarter, after falling for three consecutive quarters, from a high of 39 percent in the first quarter. Of those surveyed, 19 percent identified themselves as Republicans, 40 percent Democrats, 16 percent Independents and 25 percent were not registered.
The survey was conducted nationally from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31, 2017. The random polling sample consisted of 840 Hispanics, 18 years of age and older, with a margin of error of +/- 3.9 percent. The survey was administered using both landlines via IVR data collection (23 percent) and online data collection (77 percent) using Survey Sampling International.