Will a Growing Economy Reelect President Trump?

Posted: May 09, 2019 12:01 AM
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Will a Growing Economy Reelect President Trump?

Source: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

When it comes to the economy, 37% of voters now trust Republicans more than Democrats. A ScottRasmussen.com survey found that 26% hold the opposite view and trust the Democrats more. The rest either don't trust either party (18%), trust both equally (10%) or are not sure (9%).

On the one hand, these numbers aren't all that surprising. In monthly polls dating back to last summer, the Republicans have always been trusted more than Democrats on the economy. But the advantage may be growing.

The 11-point advantage recorded is up from 4 points a month ago. This month's total also represents the largest GOP lead yet measured in ScottRasmussen.com polls.

It comes at a time when confidence is growing in the economy itself. Fifty-five percent of voters now rate the economy as good or excellent. The latest Job Creators Network/ScottRasmussen.com Weekly Pulse survey shows that just 12% say it's in poor shape.

On top of that, 39% say the economy is getting better, while only 20% think it's getting worse.

On a personal level, 51% of American adults rate their own finances as good or excellent, while just 15% are in poor shape. Twenty-eight percent say their own financial situation is improving, while 17% say the opposite.

And in terms of their community, 49% say firms are more likely to be hiring than laying people off. Just 18% see more layoffs in their area.

Put it all together and Americans haven't been this optimistic about the economy since before the 2018 elections. Confidence softened a bit after Democrats won control of the House and then fell more sharply during the partial government shutdown. But ever since the shutdown ended, confidence has returned and may be gaining momentum.

Naturally, there is a partisan interpretation of what's going on economically. By an 82% to 3% margin, Republicans believe the economy is getting better. Independent voters aren't as convinced, but they still agree by a 35% to 25% margin.

Democrats, on the other hand, see something different entirely. Half (47%) think the economy is staying about the same, and 28% believe it's getting worse. Just 18% of those in Nancy Pelosi's party believe the economy is improving.

Those partisan attitudes put the Democrats out of sync with the rest of the nation as they are working to select a presidential nominee. Perhaps they will be proven right and the economy will go south by November 2020. If that happens, the Democrats are very likely to win the White House and even pick up some Senate seats.

But what if the economy remains strong? So far, the growing economic confidence has not boosted President Donald Trump or the Republican Party. The president's job approval rating has held steady around 46% in more than three months of daily updates. And the generic congressional ballot has been nearly as stable, showing the Democrats with about a 6-point advantage.

Why hasn't the stronger economy boosted the president's numbers?

It is possible that opinions about President Trump are so hardened that nothing will change them. However, it often takes time before growing economic confidence translates into political benefits for the party in power. If that's the case, the president's ratings should start to inch up this fall.

Scott Rasmussen is the publisher of ScottRasmussen.com. He is the author of "The Sun Is Still Rising: Politics Has Failed But America Will Not."