SALEM, Va., Feb. 17, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The Roanoke College Poll interviewed 601 Virginians about their financial situation, general business conditions now and in the future, their inclination for purchasing durable goods, and their thoughts on prices in the near- and long-term. The Virginia Index of Consumer Sentiment (VAICS) rose to 83.0 in February, up 6.5-points since November 2013, making up a majority of the loss from August 2013. The increase returns the index to its upward trend held through the middle of 2013, and is 8-points higher than a year ago. Sentiment in Virginia is slightly above the preliminary national consumer sentiment value for February 2014.
Sentiment about the future economy and household finances increased by nearly 8-points since November, returning to its upward trend. The Virginia Index of Consumer Expectations (VAICE) is 82.1 in February, up from 74.3 in November 2013. The preliminary 2014 national measure of expectations was 73.0 indicating that Virginians are considerably more optimistic about the future of the economy than the nation as a whole. The share of respondents who believe that the next five years will be a period of high unemployment and recession is down 6-points since November. Differences in these attitudes continue to exist across groups. This is particularly true of Republicans (58 percent) and low-income households (51 percent). Democrats (43 percent) and blacks (39 percent) are more likely to believe the coming years will be a time of economic prosperity than contraction.
Virginians report being better off financially today than a year ago and that business conditions have strengthened. The Virginia Index of Current Conditions (VAICC) rose by almost 5 points since November to 84.3. Of those reporting that they are better off financially today compared to a year ago, 79-percent attribute the improvement to higher income, while only 2.7-percent to lower prices.
The nation as a whole is considerably more positive on the current conditions. The University of Michigan reported a preliminary 2014 current conditions value of 94.0, an increase of almost 7-points since November, but down 2-points since January.
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SOURCE The Roanoke College Poll