US Economy Breaks Record, But It Doesn’t Appear To Be Benefiting Trump

July 2, 2019 by Dan McCue
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a signing ceremony for H.R. 3151, the Taxpayer First Act in the Oval Office of the White House on July 1, 2019 in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)

WASHINGTON – The U.S. economy broke a record for its longest expansion ever on Monday, but a poll released the same day suggests the solid economy is doing little to bolster support for President Donald Trump.

On Monday, the United States began its 121st consecutive month of gross domestic product growth since the 2008 recession, a period that encompasses all eight of President Barack Obama’s years in the White House and the two years and 162 days that Trump has been president.

In addition, since unemployment peaked nationally at 10 percent in October 2009, it has steadily declined to near record lows, standing at 3.6 percent in June.

“The Economy is the BEST IT HAS EVER BEEN! Even much of the Fake News is giving me credit for that!” Trump tweeted Tuesday, basking in the good news.

Despite this, a new AP-NORC poll found that while two-thirds, 63%, of Americans describe the economy as “good,” significantly fewer approve of Trump’s handling of the economy.

Less than half of Americans, 47%, approve of Trump’s handling of the economy, while 51% disapprove, according to The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, and his overall approval rating, just 38%, remains low compared to past presidents in strong economic times.

In addition, only about 4 in 10 Americans approve of his handling of taxes and trade negotiations.

Perhaps most worrying to Trump and congressional Republicans is that while the 2017 tax overhaul was billed by the GOP as a tax break for all Americans, only 17% of respondents to the poll believe they received a tax cut, 33% think their taxes actually went up, and nearly half of those polled think their taxes stayed about the same or are unsure.

Democrats are more likely than Republicans to say the amount they paid in taxes increased in the last year, 42% versus 25%, while more Republicans say their taxes decreased, 25% versus 10%.

Most Americans also do not believe they’re personally benefiting from Trump’s trade and tariff policies.

Trump has imposed a tax on roughly $250 billion worth of Chinese imports, part of an effort to force the world’s second-largest economy to trade on more favorable terms with the United States.

China retaliated with their own tariffs that hit the U.S. agricultural sector, causing the Trump administration to provide aid to farmers with lost profits.

The president has also threatened tariffs on Mexico in order to get that country to reduce the border-crossings into the United States and has mused about hitting European autos with import taxes as well.

A mere 15% of Americans said the tariffs will help them and their family.

With regards to the national economy, just 26% said the tariffs will help, a sharp decline from 40% who said that in August 2018.

About half said the tariffs will be harmful.

Republicans, in particular, are less optimistic: half think Trump’s tariffs will help the economy, down from 7 in 10 in August 2018.

The AP-NORC poll of 1,116 adults was conducted June 13-17 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 percentage points. Respondents were first selected randomly using address-based sampling methods and were interviewed later online or by phone.

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