Huge Political Disconnect Over the State of the Economy

Mish

In 2008 everyone knew the economy was in bad shape. Today, views vary tremendously by party affiliation.

FiveThirtyEight discusses how politics shapes how people perceive the economy.

The U.S. economy is objectively awful right now. The unemployment rate is at levels not seen since the Great Depression and this quarter’s decline in gross domestic product is expected to be the worst on record. Most economists believe it will take years to recover from this recession.

In the most recent Quinnipiac University national survey, 69 percent of Republicans described the U.S. economy as “excellent” or “good.” Similarly, nearly two-thirds of Republicans in both Civiqs’s daily tracking polls and in a June 11-15 Associated Press/NORC Poll said that the nation’s current economy is at least leaning toward good. By contrast, only around 10 percent of Democrats thought that the national economy was doing well in those surveys.

Of course, the difficulty is that these attitudes aren’t just partisanship either. After eight years of Obama’s presidency, racial and economic anxiety became increasingly intertwined to the point that racial resentment was a much stronger predictor of economic pessimism under Obama than it had been under George W. Bush. That is, white people — especially white Trump voters — believed that Black people were getting ahead while they were left behind.

Take the 2016 American National Election Studies survey. Before Trump took office, the more racial discrimination white people thought their own group faced, the more likely they were to say that the economy was worse than it had been a year earlier.

Greatest Economy in History

China's Fault

Great Day for George Floyd

Trump even said Jobs Numbers 'Great day' for George Floyd.

Trump Approval Rating

Trump Approval Rating 2020-06-30

Approval rating chart from FiveThirtyEight, anecdotes are mine.

Core Support

When Trump makes a Tweet or a claim, no matter what it is, his core supporters tend to believe it. 

Core support is roughly 36-38% of the country and perhaps 80-90% of Republicans.

They will back Trump no matter what he says or does. And in the case of the economy they believe what he says as well.

Independents Will Decide the Election

Similarly, there is a huge percentage of core Democrats who will automatically disagree with anything Trump says or does. 

The core voters in neither party will not decide the election. The independents and swing voters will.

Each dip in favorability ratings represents a dip in how independents will vote. And that shows up in the polls as well.

Florida Polls

Florida Polls June 9-June 23

Going back a bit further, Trump is behind in 14 consecutive polls. 

I discussed the setup in Trump is Trailing Badly in All Recent Florida Polls: Why?

Key Reasons

  1. Independents go for Biden by 22 points (40-18 percent); however, a large number, 42 percent, are undecided or voting for a third-party candidate.
  2. By wide margins, Florida voters prefer Biden to Trump to manage immigration (50-40 percent), coronavirus (49-36 percent), and race relations (52-34 percent).
  3. By a 4-point spread, they trust Trump (47 percent) over Biden (43 percent) on the economy.
  4. Defections among core supporters are part of the president’s problem: 9 percent of Republicans, 8 percent of those who approve of Trump, and 8 percent of 2016 Trump voters back Biden in the matchup.

So Trump can appeal to the base all he wants, but he better do something about independents, race relations, and immigration.

Instead, Trump has been going backwards. 

If Trump does not win Florida, the election is over.

Think about the economy for a bit. How does "greatest economy ever" sound to 20 million people out of work? 

The core may be convinced, but that won't matter anyway. What about the independents?

Mish

Comments (48)
No. 1-16
Mr. Purple
Mr. Purple

I like the almost-immediate 80% improvement in the Trumptard perception of the economy from 11/16 to 1/17. Miraculous!

PecuniaNonOlet
PecuniaNonOlet

I consider myself independent. My street cred: didnt vote for hillary or trump in last election. I am definitely not voting trump and while I have a variety of reasons for not wanting biden, i will hold my nose and vote for him or whatever the democrat nominee is because we cant have 4 more years of an racist idiot running this country.

tokidoki
tokidoki

Surprised the Dems are so negative. The tech industry is mostly liberals, and they are VERY well paid. Bankers too claim to be liberal.

Realist
Realist

I find this all hilarious. The US economy grew an average of just over 2%/a for the last 11 years. 8 under Obama and 3 under Trump.

Unemployment trended the same under both Presidents (until now of course).

Trump spent trillions and managed to tweak the economy a smidge.

In other words, neither President, really had much of an effect. The economy didn’t much care who was in charge.

Yet the two political parties look positively on the economy when their guy is in power, and negatively when the other guy is in power.

That is why I am apolitical. Politics blinds people to reality.

Clearly the reality is that the economy is in the dumpster right now. And with the inept handling of the pandemic by Trump, the economy is going to continue to suffer for a long time, no matter how many trillions he spends of your grandchildren’s money.

It wasn’t rocket science. Trump completely failed. Many other countries have the virus well under control now. The US is going to keep suffering because they elected the worst president ever.

Anda
Anda

I think disconnection from the economy is to be found worldwide , before the pandemic, and more so after.

Does anyone know where this is all headed now ?

What I see is people looking for government support, people trying to guess how anything will be in a few months time, starting from a variety of often synthetic previous bases of one kind or another, starting from positions that were already disparate, not only in terms of wealth and opportunity, but in so many other ways as well.

Insecurity is going to be amplified for those opposed to a government due to this, not because of the nature of a government per se, it would be the same but reverse if the opposing team were in power, but because of the new reliance on governments that is taking place.

Tengen
Tengen

I wonder if a single person in the US believes in the "greatest economy ever" idiocy. Either people don't pay attention and therefore wouldn't care about that statement, or they know that we're an overly financialized economy, basically a Fed-run, debt-laden Ponzi scheme.

It's a weird talking point for Trump to keep returning to if there is no audience for it. He would be better served harping on China or protestors, where he could at least try to make a cogent point.

Stuki
Stuki

The mere fact that there are "opinion" differences about whether "the economy" is "doing great" or not, should, but of course won't, illustrate quite clearly to the dunces how useful all so called "measures" of "the economy" really is.

Russell J
Russell J

Were they bribing the participants? Who thinks the economy is good? No one I know, everyone is scared. When the unemployment ends and rent/mortgage comes due it's gonna be a really big weight on everything and everyone. Plus there may be a return of lockdowns..

I've had several people cancel home improvement projects. They're almost instantly replaced with new ones though..bummer because I'd really like to get some fishing in.

Felix_Mish
Felix_Mish

First you ask 20 questions about Trump/Biden, then you ask how the economy is going. Gosh, I wonder what responses you'll get.

How about if you prime the people you're polling with questions that get their minds to hear a question as, "Gosh, an act of God happened and it was bad. Now, given that, is the economy doing worse or better than what you would expect after this disaster?"

Or, first you ask a question to remind the people whether their party is in or out of power. Then you note the positive correlation between the party that is not in power and the economy. (As @Realist points out that's as easy as finding a + correlation between the economy and the party in power.) Then you ask what they think of the economy.

Jackula
Jackula

As a swing voter I was thinking seriously about voting for the Donald in Nov. Not now. It is rare to see such ineptitude, stupidity, and lack of common sense in a leader during the series of crises over the last 4 months.

magoomba
magoomba

Although they can't make it official, UBI and deflation is here. I suspect the dems will be less generous if they win big.

Scooot
Scooot

I don’t think most core supporters actually believe all the rhetoric of their leaders, they just say they do when asked because they’re supporters. For some reason they take a side and stick to it regardless, like a cult.

njbr
njbr

Revisit the topic after the end of July.

You'll see even worse outlook then. It will continue to plummet through the election

Stock market is drunk on Fed juice and provides cover like a fig-leaf for Trumps naughty bits.

JanNL
JanNL

In my opinion Trump is less scary than AOC and Antifa. That will be the choice.

ColoradoAccountant
ColoradoAccountant

Our choices in November are a 77 year-old life-time politician, who is developing cognitive problems, vs. a 74 year-old NYC real estate developer with narcissistic personality disorder. The Founders knew the system they designed wouldn't last a century. The system is well past its expiration date and is stinking up the whole house.

mike1234
mike1234

Thank you Cuomo for the the state of the ny economy. Don't forget the nursing homes or is that Trump's fault as well. While we are at it lets see if we can blame Trump for the cival war as well!


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