It’s the economy, stupid – at least, until it isn’t.
A new CNN poll conducted by SSRS released on Wednesday has some good news for the American economy: More people have a positive view of economic conditions now than at any point since before the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001.
But for Trump, that hasn’t translated into any kind of a boost in his approval ratings.
That’s right: Despite economic optimism soaring to a broad, bipartisan 68% positive rating, Trump’s approval rating keeps sinking – now at a new low of 36% this week in a new CNN poll. And that’s a little weird.
In fact, that gap between the strong economy and Trump’s low approval rating – 32 points – is the largest negative split in more than two decades of polls from CNN and Gallup.
The number of Americans who say economic conditions are good has climbed a remarkable 20 percentage points since Election Day, from 48% to 68%. Most of the climb has occurred among Republicans, who now occupy the White House, from 33% then to 88% now.
There have been other times when the two measures have diverged. Immediately after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, George W. Bush’s approval rating spiked above views the economy, which started declining sharply after Bush took office. Bush’s approval ratings – along with views of the economy – tapered off over the rest of his eight years in office.
And for nearly the full first year of President Obama’s first term, Obama’s approval rating soared way higher than the dismal economic ratings during the Great Recession.
During the end of Bill Clinton’s term, the economy soared to extraordinarily high marks, but his approval rating stayed lower – the only sustained instance where the economy topped approval by a significant margin in the last two decades.
Over the last six years, the number of Americans who rate the economy as “good” has surged from just 10% in September 2011 to a broad 68% today.
One in six Americans say economic conditions are “very good” – that’s up from just 5% one year ago. Only three in 10 Americans say the economy is in poor shape.
Historically, the economy has helped boost (or dragged down) a president’s approval rating and even affected re-election rates for presidents and incumbents in Congress.
The CNN poll in this story was conducted by SSRS by telephone November 2 to 5 among a random national sample of 1,021 adults. The margin of sampling error for results among the full sample is plus or minus 3.6 percentage points; it is larger for subgroups.
Graphic by CNN’s Joyce Tseng