Magic Number of the Day: 17

Photograph by Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

Protesters mock Mitt Romney in Los Angeles, on March 27, 2012.

That’s the gap between Democrats and Republicans in the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index for the week ended April 8. The index, which asks people what they think about the national economy, their personal finances and the buying climate, was minus 22.4 among Democrats, minus 39.4 for Republicans and minus 32.8 overall.

The 17-point gap for Democrats was the largest since the partisan differences in the index were first measured in June 1990. The Democratic index has been rising and the Republican index has been falling; as recently as the week ended March 4, the Republican index was 15 points higher than the Democratic index, minus 26.8 to minus 41.8.

Politics may have something to do with it.

“With partisanship in full force, Democrats may be filtering their assessments through the prism of supporting the incumbent president, Republicans the opposite,” Langer Research Associates, which produces the index, said in its analysis.

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