Type to search

Latest news

Southerners trust GOP on economy; Atlanta Fed reports ‘soft’ Southern economy


By David Pendered

A majority of American voters in the South have more trust in congressional Republicans than Democrats to handle the economy, according to a POLITICO/Morning Consult poll released Wednesday.

hospitality cooks, Atlanta Fed

Disposable income and hospitality jobs were evident at the Atlanta International Market, in 2017. The pandemic-related recession has cut into both incomes and jobs, according to a report released Wednesday by the Atlanta Fed. Credit: Kelly Jordan (2017)

Meantime, the economy in the South is soft, according to a report released Wednesday by the Atlanta Fed. Here’s the topline of the Atlanta Fed’s report in the Beige Book:

  • “Economic conditions remained soft. Labor markets improved and nonlabor costs were muted. Overall, retail sales strengthened. Tourism activity resumed, though limited by capacity constraints. Residential real estate conditions improved, and commercial real estate activity was mixed. Manufacturing activity weakened. Banking conditions worsened.”

These economic perspectives notwithstanding, 48 percent of poll respondents in the South said they have greater trust in congressional Republicans than Democrats to handle the economy; 37 percent said they have greater trust in congressional Democrats to handle the economy. Fifteen percent said they didn’t know or didn’t have an opinion.

Poll results on the economy were similar at the national level. These results showed 45 percent of voters have more trust in Republicans, compared to 40 percent who have greater trust in Democrats to handle the economy.

The divide in the national results followed party line – 77 percent of Democrats and leaning Democrat had more trust in congressional Democrats to handle the ecnomy; 88 percent of Republicans had more trust in congressional Republicans.

In terms of jobs, a majority of Southern voters had more trust in Republicans than Democrats. The split was about the same as the views on the economy: 47 percent reported more trust in Republicans than Democrats to handle jobs policy; 38 percent had more trust in Democrats than Republicans on the topic. Fifteen percent reported they didn’t know or didn’t have an opinion.

These results come from subsamples of the POLITICO/Morning Consult poll. The margin of error is greater in the subsamples than in results of the national survey of 1,992 registered voters, which has a margin of error of 2 percentage points. The survey was conducted online, from July 10-12, and the data was weighted to approximate a target sample of registered voters on age, gender, educational attainment, race, and region, according to the report.

hospitality workers, Atlanta Fed

Jobs in the service sector were regained as the economy started to reopen after the pandemic-related shutdowns, but have not reached pre-pandemic levels, as was evident at the 2017 the Atlanta International Market. The Atlanta Fed reported Wednesday the regional economy is ‘soft.’ Credit: Kelly Jordan (2017)

The Atlanta Fed’s report in the Beige Book portrayed an across-the-board economy that is muddling through the pandemic-related recession. The national synopsis of overall economic conditions concludes with this remark:

  • “Outlooks remained highly uncertain, as contacts grappled with how long the COVID-19 pandemic would continue and the magnitude of its economic implications.”

The Atlanta District covers Alabama, Florida and Georgia, and portions of Tennessee, Louisiana and Mississippi. The report’s categories and first sentences state:

Summary of Economic Activity

“On balance, economic activity in the Sixth District remained weak from mid-May through June.

“Employment and Wages

  • Labor conditions improved modestly since the previous report.


  • Contacts continued to note muted input costs and little to no pricing power.

“Consumer Spending and Tourism

  • Retailers reported healthy demand as many stores reopened.

“Construction and Real Estate

  • District housing market conditions improved significantly over the reporting period


  • Manufacturing contacts indicated that overall business activity decelerated, but at a somewhat slower pace than the previous report.


  • Transportation activity was largely unchanged since the previous report.

“Banking and Finance

  • Conditions at financial institutions deteriorated over the reporting period due to credit issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic.


  • Energy industry contacts continued to report weak demand, oversupply, and constrained global storage capacity for crude oil, liquefied natural gas, and refined products such as distillates.


  • Agricultural conditions remained weak.”



David Pendered

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow.


You Might also Like

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.