Despite months of increasingly positive economic indicators, the American public remains negative about the state of the nation’s economy, with 51% saying they think the economy is still in a downturn and getting worse, according to a new CNN poll.
This consistent pessimism, coupled with a stagnant and negative approval rating for President Joe Biden, could portend challenges for his attempt to sell voters on the success of his domestic agenda as a part of his 2024 reelection bid.
Biden’s overall approval rating stands at 41% in the new poll, about on par with where it’s been since the spring. His approval drops to 37% when Americans assess his handling of the economy and further still to 30% for his handling of inflation. Among political independents, a scant 26% approve of his handling of inflation.
Approval ratings for Vice President Kamala Harris are similar to Biden’s – 42% approve and 57% disapprove. But there are differences in how they’re viewed by key demographics that could have implications for the ticket’s reelection strategy.
Independents assess Harris somewhat more positively than they do Biden (42% approve of her handling of the job vs. 36% who approve of Biden). Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents younger than 45 are about as likely to approve of Harris’ handling of the job (71% approve) as they are to approve of Biden’s performance (70%), while older Democrats are more apt to approve of Biden than Harris (86% approve of Biden vs. 79% for Harris). And though Biden’s approval rating has softened among Black Americans and now regularly lands around 60% in national surveys (it stands at 61% in the new poll), Harris’s approval rating with Black adults is considerably higher at 72%.
The Democratic Party overcame deeply negative numbers for both Biden and the economy in 2022 to emerge with a better-than-expected performance in that year’s midterm elections. As traditional pre-election measures such as presidential approval and perception of the county’s direction become increasingly polarized and less frequently responsive to real-world events, the same could happen again in 2024, but nearly all presidents who were elected to a second term in the modern era of polling had stronger numbers at this point in their terms.
As low as they are now, views of Biden have ticked up since last summer’s low points. But there has been little movement recently on views of Biden, the public’s perception of the economy itself or the way things are going in the country more generally.
The public remains broadly negative about the state of the country, with just 29% saying things are going well in the US and 71% that they’re going poorly, roughly the same as earlier this year.
Two-thirds (68%) say that during this term, Congress has not done anything to effectively address the problems facing the country today. That’s a bit worse than just before the fall midterm elections, when 62% said the previous Congress had not done anything to effectively address the coun