Most Americans are quite optimistic the U.S. economy will do well in the days ahead, though Democrats remain depressed two months into the Trump presidency. The index of consumer sentiment rose to 97.6 in March from 96.3 in February, based on a preliminary reading by the University Michigan. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had forecast a reading of 98. Two months ago, the index shot up to the highest level since 2004, largely because of more confidence among Republicans and independent voters. The March survey shows Republicans are still gung-ho. A gauge that examines what they expect in the next six months climbed to 122.4, a level that typically signals a “new era of robust economic growth.” The expectations index for Democrats, by contrast, slumped to 55.3, a number that usually signals “that a deep depression is imminent.” Swing voters were almost exactly in the middle. The expectations index for independents was 88.3.