As President Joe Biden promotes Bidenomics, here are five takeaways on the economy from a new Fox News national survey.
– The share of voters feeling dissatisfied with how things are going in the country is up 17 points since Biden took office.
– Eight in 10 say the economy is in bad shape.
– Compared to two years ago, the number who describe their personal financial situation negatively has grown 19 points.
– A majority disapproves of Biden’s handling of inflation, including more than one-third of Democrats and three-quarters of independents.
– Twice as many think the Biden administration has made the economy worse rather than better.
Here are the details behind those findings:
Twenty-five percent feel the White House has made the economy better, up from 17% last summer. Still, twice as many say it has made things worse (52%), and one in five says it made no difference (22%).
Fifty-two percent of Democrats say Biden has made things better, up from 37% last July. But most Republicans (91%) and, more importantly, a majority of independents, say he’s made things worse (56%).
Eighty percent view economic conditions negatively (only fair or poor). While that’s mostly unchanged for the last year, it’s worse than the 69% who felt that way early in Biden’s presidency (April 2021).
Plus, fewer are feeling good about their own money situation compared to two years ago. The portion rating their finances positively has fallen to 35%, down from 53% in August 2021. That holds true among Democrats (down 18 points), Republicans (-20), and independents (-19).
While Republicans are more likely to hold positive views of their own finances compared to the country's (32% vs. 5%), equal numbers of Democrats rate the national (39%) and their personal situations positively (39%).
Large majorities say paying for groceries and utilities is a problem for their family. That includes 54% who say grocery prices are a "major" problem and 42% who say the same about utility costs, both are about where they were last summer (June 2022).
Voters have felt relief at the pump. Most continue to describe gas prices as a problem (85%), but the 49% saying a "major" problem is down significantly from 67% a year ago. Among those earning less than $50,000 annually, 54% say gas prices are a "major" problem, down from 72%.
Voter dissatisfaction with the direction of the country has gotten worse by 17 points over the course of Biden’s presidency: 70% are unhappy with how things are going, up from 53% who said the same at the 100-day mark of his term (April 2021).
That 17-point shift comes more from an increasing number of Democrats being dissatisfied (up 23 points) than Republicans (+10) or independents (+11).
Majorities disapprove of Biden’s handling of foreign policy (41% approve, 55% disapprove), the economy (37-61%), border security (33-61%), and inflation (31-67%). He receives his best job rating on climate change, but it’s still net negative by 8 points (43-51%).
Among Democrats, 77% approve of Biden on foreign policy and 74% on climate change, compared to 64% on border security and 61% on inflation.
Overall, 42% approve and 58% disapprove of the job the president’s doing. Last month, it was 44-55%. His record high is 56-43% in June 2021 and his lowest is 40-59% in July 2022.
Biden’s ratings are nearly identical to former President Trump’s from four years ago. At that time, 43% approved and 56% disapproved of Trump (August 2019).
Disapproval of the president is at record highs among Republicans (96%), White evangelical Christians (80%), Southerners (64%), and those under age 45 (58%).
"Biden’s dismal ratings reflect continuing financial anxiety, but also the rigid partisanship that leads voters to evaluate national economic conditions through a partisan lens," says Democrat Chris Anderson, whose firm Beacon Research conducts Fox News surveys with Republican Daron Shaw. "Democrats have started to believe Biden’s policies are helping the economy, and that’s what he needs to gather some momentum and convince skeptical independents."
In the survey, voters were encouraged to describe in their own words why they approve or disapprove of Biden’s performance.
The most common reasons for approving are his handling of the economy (23%), he’s getting things done (18%), he’s better than Trump (15%), he’s generally doing a good job (12%), and he’s looking out for people (10%).
The top answer for disapproving is the same as for approving – his handling of the economy (27%). That’s followed by disliking his policies (18%), his age/mental state (14%), dishonesty (9%), and immigration/border security and not looking out for people (both 6%).
All that makes the economy the top issue, with 38% saying it's the most important problem facing the country. That’s up from 36% in February, but down from 42% in December. Immigration/border security and guns tie for a distant second (11% each), followed by climate change (9%), voting rights/integrity (8%), health care (7%), crime (6%), abortion (3%), and foreign policy (2%).
While the economy is the top issue across the board, big differences standout, with Republicans and independents about 20 points more likely than Democrats to prioritize it.
Top issues for Republicans are the economy (48%) and immigration (22%). The economy (26%) is also the top issue for Democrats, followed by guns (19%), climate change (15%), voting rights (13%), and health care (11%). The three most important among independents are the economy (44%), climate change and health care (10% apiece).
Conducted August 11-14, 2023, under the joint direction of Beacon Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R), this Fox News Poll includes interviews with 1,002 registered voters nationwide who were randomly selected from a voter file and spoke with live interviewers on both landlines and cellphones. The poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points for all registered voters.
Fox News’ Victoria Balara contributed to this report.