Trump’s handling of the economy

Robert Kuttner on public approval of Trump’s handing of the economy:

As general support for Trump keeps sinking, there is one anomaly. According to this July 15 Wall Street Journal/NBC poll, which finds Biden leading Trump by 11 points, fully 54 percent of Americans approve of Trump’s handling of the economy.

Really? That would be the corona economy, the worst since the Great Depression, thanks substantially to Trump’s catastrophic policies. How can this possibly be?

I put the question to some leading pollsters and strategists. One person whom I greatly respect told me that in focus groups several people volunteered that they credited Trump personally for the supplemental unemployment checks and one-time $1,200 relief payments because his name was on the checks.

I suspect there is more going on here than Trump’s name on checks.  Part of what is going on is issue ownership.  Voters tend to trust Republicans more on the economy than Democrats.  This seems to be true even on budget deficits (seriously).  You can scan through some old polling data here.  Why this is the case is not entirely clear; perhaps it is because business is generally a Republican constituency and people equate the economy with business.  Another factor is likely Trump’s carefully crafted reputation as a “successful” “businessman”.  Voters tend to trust business people; they want government to be run more like a business, etc.  Remember Ross Perot.

Of course, these factors will only take Trump so far; his ratings on the economy are slipping along with his overall approval:

As recently as last month, even as Mr. Biden led the presidential race, a majority of voters said they trusted Mr. Trump more on economic matters. But a poll released Wednesday by Quinnipiac University showed Mr. Biden edging ahead on that question, 50 percent to 45 percent. Quinnipiac found that 53 percent of registered voters disapproved of Mr. Trump’s handling of the economy, and polls from CNBC and the Democratic firm Navigator Research found similar disapproval numbers.