UNITED STATES NEWS

AP-NORC poll finds an uptick in positive ratings of the US economy, but it’s not boosting Biden

Jan 31, 2024, 10:03 PM

FILE - President Joe Biden speaks to members of the media before boarding Marine One on the South L...

FILE - President Joe Biden speaks to members of the media before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Jan. 30, 2024. U.S. adults are only feeling slightly better about the economy, despite stocks being near record highs and surprisingly strong growth last year. A new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds that 35% of U.S. adults call the national economy good. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Stocks are near record highs. Growth was surprisingly strong last year. And once-hot inflation has begun to cool. But so far, U.S. adults are feeling only slightly better about the economy.

A new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds that 35% of U.S. adults call the national economy good. That’s an uptick from 30% who said so late last year and up from 24% who said so a year ago. While 65% still call the economy poor, that’s also an improvement from a year ago, when 76% called it poor.

Voters’ confidence in the economy could be a pivotal factor in this year’s presidential election as it is consistently rated as a top issue. Recent data on the economy has shown that growth accelerated last year even as inflation returned closer to the Federal Reserve’s 2% target, proving wrong a multitude of Wall Street and academic economists who said a recession would be the consequence of efforts to lower inflation.

President Joe Biden and his aides have taken to highlighting the economic positives as consumer sentiment has rebounded. Biden is also drawing an open contrast with former President Donald Trump, the Republican front-runner. Trump supporters remember his tenure with pride for how the economy fared, but his term was marred by job losses tied to the coronavirus pandemic.

The evidence of a stronger economy has yet to spill over into greater support for Biden. The new poll puts his approval rating at 38%, which is roughly where that number has stood for most of the past two years. Biden’s approval rating on handling the economy is similar, at 35%.

Respondents interviewed for the survey often expressed their views on the economy through a personal lens. Some judged it based on their grocery bills and prices at the gasoline pump. Others assessed the economy based on their appreciating investments. Housing prices mattered, and so did job prospects for their adult children and the upward trajectory of the federal debt.

Molly Kapsner, 58, lives on a farm in Wisconsin and thinks the economy is doing “pretty well” because she has three children finishing college this year and all of them have job options. She voted for Biden in 2020 and plans to do so again.

“He has a lot on his plate right now and he’s doing quite well,” she said. “He’s just putting his head down and doing his job and not trying to create a circus in our country.”

David Veksler, who voted for the libertarian candidate, Jo Jorgenson, in 2020, said he’s worried about the rising federal debt. The 43-year-old software engineer manager from Denver said the borrowing will hurt growth in the long term, even if his investments are doing well now.

“I think he’s similar to his predecessors in furthering unsustainable deficits,” Veksler said of Biden. “I’m as negative on him as I was on Trump.”

Harry Broadnax, a 62-year-old retiree, said he increasingly thinks about the economy in relation to the increase in migrants illegally crossing the U.S. southern border. He feels their presence is diverting financial resources from U.S. citizens.

“I would like to see them block up the border like Trump wanted,” said Broadnax, who is from North Carolina, adding for emphasis, “I’m a Democrat.”

Broadnax doesn’t see himself voting for Biden or Trump, whose criminal indictments worry him.

The Biden administration has tried to put a greater focus on the big numbers used to assess the overall economy, making its case through hard data.

Lael Brainard, director of the White House National Economic Council, told a group of reporters last week that skeptics about the economy had overlooked how Biden’s policies boosted the labor market and repaired supply chains wrecked by the pandemic.

“The big miss here was not to understand how much, by surging back into the workforce, by addressing supply chains that were completely broken, those inflationary pressures would come down,” she said.

Trump has said that the economy is “fragile” and “running off the fumes of what we did.” The Republican front-runner has said on social media that stocks are rising because he is likely to return to the White House. That claim overlooks the influence of the Fed, as well as the fact that average annual growth has been higher under Biden so far than it was during Trump’s term.

There continues to be a political split in how people think about the economy. As a consequence, there might be a limit on how much Biden’s approval numbers can climb even if the economy keeps thriving as it did last year.

Democrats remain far more likely than Republicans to describe the economy as good, 58% to 15%. Still, views have improved at least slightly since the same time last year, when 41% of Democrats and 8% of Republicans called the economy good.

Sixty-five percent of Democrats, but just 7% of Republicans, say they approve of Biden’s handling of the economy, both largely unchanged since late last year.

However, the poll did show a brighter outlook on the economy from some key voter demographics. Since a year ago, a disproportionate increase in sentiment has come from college graduates and older adults — two groups that tend to turn out to vote at higher rates. There is also the possibility that voters will care more about the personalities of the Democratic and Republican nominees than they do about the state of the economy.

Deborah Shields, 70, who works in direct sales, said she’s noticed an improvement in the economy as her investments have improved. Yet she said her opposition to Trump will determine her vote in November.

“I would never, never, ever vote for Trump,” said Shields, who lives in Orlando, Florida. “He’s a megalomaniac.”

Richard Tunnell, an Air Force veteran on disability, voted for Trump in 2020 and would do so again if the former president is on the ballot. The 30-year-old from Huntsville, Texas is a hard “no” on Biden.

“He’s just a puppet,” Tunnell said. “They’ll boot people out like Trump who give a crap, but they’ll put in people like Biden who they can put on strings and manipulate.”

___

The poll of 1,152 adults was conducted Jan. 25–29, 2024, using a sample drawn from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak Panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 4.0 percentage points.

United States News

FILE - Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event J...

Associated Press

Trump says he strongly supports IVF after Alabama court ruling puts new pressure on Republicans

Former President Donald Trump said Friday that he would “strongly support the availability of IVF" and called on lawmakers in Alabama to preserve access to the treatment.

8 minutes ago

Associated Press

Small, nonthreatening balloon intercepted over Utah by NORAD

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A small and nonthreatening balloon spotted flying high over the mountainous Western United States was intercepted by fighter jets over Utah on Friday, according to the North American Aerospace Defense Command. NORAD fighter pilots sent Friday morning to investigate the balloon determined it was not maneuverable and did not present […]

49 minutes ago

FILE - This undated image released by the U.S. military's Central Command shows what it is describe...

Associated Press

Two Navy SEALs drowned in the Arabian Sea. How the US charged foreign crew with smuggling weapons

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Two Navy SEALs drowned last month while trying to board a vessel that was intercepted by U.S. naval forces in the Arabian Sea. On Thursday, federal prosecutors unsealed a criminal complaint against four foreign nationals they say were transporting suspected Iranian-made missile components on the vessel. The four sailors were later […]

1 hour ago

FILE - Former President Donald Trump attends the closing arguments in the Trump Organization civil ...

Associated Press

$454 million judgment against Trump is finalized, starting clock on appeal in civil fraud case

NEW YORK (AP) — The staggering civil fraud judgment against Donald Trump was finalized in New York on Friday, making official a verdict that leaves the former president on the hook for more than $454 million in fines and interest. The procedural step by the New York county clerk starts the clock on Trump’s appeals […]

2 hours ago

Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)...

Associated Press

Biden tells governors he’s eyeing executive action on immigration, seems ‘frustrated’ with lawyers

President Joe Biden told the nation's governors on Friday that he's exploring what executive actions he can take to curb migration across the southern border.

2 hours ago

Associated Press

California State University student workers vote to unionize, creating largest such union in country

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Undergraduate student workers at California State University voted to join a union to negotiate better pay, sick time, paid parking and other benefits with the university, officials announced Friday. The California Public Employment Relations Board said 7,252 student workers submitted electronic ballots between Jan. 25 and Feb. 22, with 7,050 voting […]

2 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

AP-NORC poll finds an uptick in positive ratings of the US economy, but it’s not boosting Biden