In what could be a new warning sign for President Trump’s 2020 re-election bid, a new poll indicates that for the first time since his 2016 election victory, more voters say the economy’s getting worse rather than better.
Thirty-seven percent of those questioned in a Quinnipiac University poll released on Wednesday said the economy’s getting worse, with 31 percent saying conditions are getting better.
That’s a switch from Quinnipiac’s June poll, when by a 39-23 percent margin, those questioned said the economy was improving.
As the Republican president runs for re-election in 2020, he constantly touts the robust health of America’s economy. Last week Trump told reporters “we're in such a strong economic position. We're, right now, the No. 1 country anywhere in the world by far as an economy.”
Sixty-one percent of those polled described the current state of the economy as good or excellent. But that's down from 70 percent in June.
And the survey suggests that by a slight 41-37 percent edge, the voters feel Trump’s policies are hurting the economy.
“Roughly 4 in 10 voters blame the President's policies, saying they are hurting the economy, the highest level since Trump took office,” Quinnipiac University polling analyst Mary Snow highlighted.
While the president’s overall approval rating has long been underwater in most polls, his numbers on the job he’s doing handling the economy have always been respectable. But the new Quinnipiac poll puts Trump’s approval on the economy at 46 percent, with his disapproval at 49 percent.
The poll comes amid recent concerns over an escalating trade war with China, a slowing global economy, and worries about a possible impending recession in the U.S. Trump has rejected those warnings as overblown and cheered on by his critics.
"As trade tensions with China dominate the headlines, confidence in the economy is slipping," Snow emphasized.
The same poll, meanwhile, showed Trump losing to all top Democratic presidential candidates in a hypothetical general election. The poll showed 54 percent supporting former Vice President Joe Biden and just 38 percent backing Trump in such a matchup. The survey showed Sens. Bernie Sanders of Virginia, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Kamala Harris of California all beating Trump by double digits, and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg leading by nine points.
A dip in public confidence in the economy could be an electoral disaster for Trump – who’s been banking on a surging jobs market and strong economic growth to win the support of crucial independent and moderate voters in next year’s general election.
Responding to recession fears, the president and his top advisers have accused Democrats of trying to cause a recession to weaken his political standing. And he’s also pointed fingers at the Federal Reserve for failing to drop U.S. interest rates.
The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted Aug. 21-26, with 1,422 registered voters nationwide questioned by live telephone operators. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.