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Consumer Sentiment Remains Strong In New York

ROCHESTER, NY (WXXI) - More than half of New Yorkers say they're better off financially than they were a year ago.

That's one of the findings of a new survey from Siena College. Republicans who responded to the poll feel better about the economy than Democrats, and downstate residents are more optimistic than upstate residents.

But Doug Lonnstrom, director of the Siena College Research Institute, said not everyone who has a positive economic outlook now expects that feeling to last.

"In almost every  case, current confidence is higher than future confidence," he explained. "No matter if it's men, women, upstate, downstate, Democrats, Republicans, young, old ... people are feeling better now than they are about the future, so that's a little bit of a worry right now."

Lonnstrom said he thinks political divisiveness is one possible factor influencing those who aren't particularly confident about the economy.

"Just the whole mood of the country isn't good, so that's wearing people down," he said. "People are fighting with each other, and that's just not good. I think the political situation is impacting the economic situation to some extent."

Fifty-four percent of all New Yorkers who were surveyed said current gas prices are having a serious or somewhat serious impact on their personal finances. Fifty-nine percent said food prices were a concern.

But overall, New Yorkers' plans to spend more money on everything from furniture to major home improvements were up from the last quarter of 2018.

The quarterly Siena College consumer sentiment index was based on random landline and cellphone calls to 384 New York adults between March 7 and March 20 and on 420 responses drawn from a proprietary online panel of New York residents.