Perhaps surprisingly, given historically low unemployment, the economy is not rated as highly as it could be: Fewer than half of Americans, 44%, say it’s improved since Trump has taken office. That’s twice as many as say it’s gotten worse, 22%. The rest, 31%, say it’s remained about the same.
A key reason is that partisanship strongly informs these responses, especially since Trump is part of the equation. Seventy-five percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say the economy has improved under his presidency; just 15% of leaned Democrats agree.
Among those who say the economy has improved – disproportionately Republicans and Republican-leaning independents – 78% say Trump deserves a great deal or good amount of credit for it. Among all adults, this produces 34% who both say that they economy has improved and Trump gets credit. Across the spectrum, 19% both say the economy has gotten worse under Trump and he deserves blame for it.
The economy, then, is a net positive for Trump, albeit less of one than might be assumed. What’s clear is that it matters – Trump has overwhelming support from Americans who say the economy’s improved under his presidency, while his opponents hold vast leads among those who say it’s stayed the same or worsened.
Indeed, in a statistical analysis, views of the economy under Trump are one of the strongest independent predictors of vote preference, measured against partisanship, ideology and demographics. As such, attitudes about the economy in the next year may matter to the election at least as much as all the politicking ahead.
This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by landline and cellular telephone Oct. 27-30, 2019, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 1,003 adults. Results have a margin of sampling error of 3.7 points, including the design effect. Partisan divisions are 29-23-38%, Democrats-Republicans-independents.
The survey was produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates of New York, N.Y., with sampling and data collection by Abt Associates of Rockville, Md. See details on the survey’s methodology here.