Calculated Risk put last month’s consumer confidence print into historical context in the chart below. Look at the other times it reached or approached this level (roughly mid-60s or below) – every one of them coincided with a change in political party in the White House. The only exceptions are 1982, which was not a Presidential election year but was the real start of Reaganomics, and 2000, where the election was not determined by voters.
I’m no political scientist and this is hardly earth-shattering insight, but I was surprised to see the strength of the pattern.
UPDATE 8/14: I thought it might be interesting to look further back in the data, but unfortunately this particular series only seems to go back to the mid-1950s. Nonetheless, the chart (via FRED) is interesting:
I’d be the last to point to this as hard and fast evidence of a causal relationship, since consumer confidence and politics both drive and are endogenous to the swirl of media-driven culture, but it’s an interesting relationship nonetheless.