WTOP Beltway Poll: People believe region is heading in right direction

WASHINGTON – A new WTOP Beltway poll shows a sharp increase in the number of Washington-area residents who believe the area economy is improving and that the region is on the right track.

Fifty-one percent of those surveyed say the region is headed in a good direction. That compares to just 38 percent who felt that way in December 2011. For the country as a whole, 50 percent feel the country is going the right way, up from 29 percent in December.

The poll, conducted by Heart + Mind Strategies, also finds strong differences between Democrats and Republicans on how they view the direction of the country. Seventy percent of Democrats believe it’s headed in the right direction, while the figure is only 18 percent for Republicans. Independents come in at 34 percent.

Overall, the survey indicates most people surveyed feel business conditions are improving and job prospects are getting better. Thirty-nine percent of Washington area residents now feel that current employment conditions are positive, compared to 24 percent back in September.

Other findings:

  • 45 percent feel positively about current business conditions in the D.C. area, up from 32 percent in December
  • 45 percent feel positively about what business conditions will be in six months, up from 33 percent in December
  • 44 percent believe employment conditions will be positive six months from now. The figure was 32 percent in December.

Residents of Virginia, Maryland and D.C. all show greater optimism. D.C. residents are the most bullish on the economy.

The survey indicates a change in how area residents view leaders in Washington. While confidence has been low in recent months, the poll finds the region’s residents are expressing more trust and confidence that leaders will do what’s right and to address the economic situation.

The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.2 percent.

The D.C. metro phone survey polled 551 adults over the age of 18 between Feb. 20, 2011 and Feb. 23, 2011. This included representative samples of 200 people in Virginia, 251 in Maryland and 100 in the District.

Heart+Mind Strategies is a non-partisan market research consultancy based in Reston, Va.

WTOP’s Mitchell Miller contributed to this report. Follow Mitchell and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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