The bleak economic outlook among voters gives Trump an advantage

The bleak economic outlook among voters gives Trump an advantage

US President Joe Biden hosts Western Hemisphere leaders at the US Partnership for Economic Prosperity Leaders Summit at the White House in Washington, US, November 3, 2023.

Leah Millis | Reuters

An extremely pessimistic view of the US economy among registered voters has been the driving force behind new polls showing support for former President Donald Trump outpacing President Joe Biden in five out of six key presidential swing states, one year before the 2024 election.

A poll published by The New York Times and Siena College on Sunday showed that if the elections were held today, Trump would lead Biden in hypothetical contests in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Georgia and Nevada. The margins were between 4 and 10 percentage points, with a survey sampling error of 4.4 to 4.8 points for each state.

The only state where voters said they would prefer Biden over Trump was Wisconsin, where the president led the Republican candidate by two points, within the margin of error.

During the 2020 election, Biden won all six crucial states, albeit some by very narrow margins.

However, the most surprising result from the poll was not the result in any particular state. A whopping 81% of registered voters overall said the state of the US economy was either “fair” or “poor,” compared to just 19% who said it was “good” or “excellent.”

This division persisted despite the fact that Biden traveled the country for the better part of a year, promoting his “economic” agenda and touting the economic gains achieved under his presidency.

The numbers are not up for debate: US GDP grew by 5% in the last quarter, inflation is down 60% from its peak, and the unemployment rate has remained below 4% for twenty months.

However, voters say they are not feeling the benefits of a so-called “soft landing” for the economy, post-recession and pandemic-era boom.

These issues will be top of mind for voters next year; 57% of respondents said that economic issues would be the most important factor in their vote. Social issues, such as abortion and guns, will be the main factor for 29% of survey respondents.

The poll indicates worrying signs ahead of Biden’s re-election campaign. The president’s approval numbers are lower than they were for Trump or former President Barack Obama at this point in the race, according to the RealClearPolitics average.

A Biden campaign spokesman on Sunday downplayed the significance of the results.

“Forecasts more than a year out tend to look a little different a year out,” Kevin Munoz said, before highlighting some examples of early polls that turned out to be incorrect. “We will win in 2024 by putting our heads down and doing the work, not by worrying about the poll,” he said.

However, the Times/Siena poll is not the only poll to suggest that Biden’s economic message is not reaching voters.

An NBC News poll last month found the GOP’s advantage on the economy to be the highest recorded in more than three decades of NBC News polling.

In line with the New York Times/Siena poll, 49% of NBC respondents preferred Republicans to be able to better handle economic issues, compared with 28% who said they had confidence in Democrats’ ability to do so.

In a significant move, independent voters in the poll gave Republicans a 25-point advantage when it comes to handling of the economy.

The poll also found that a majority of voters disapprove of Biden’s economic record, by 59% to 37%.

    (tags for translation) Breaking News: Politics 

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