While it was clear early on that President Donald Trump intended to seek re-election largely on the strength of a robust economy, the widespread business shutdowns and stay-at-home orders in response to the coronavirus pandemic threatened that strategy.
According to a new poll, however, the economy still seems to be the incumbent’s strongest issue and a majority of American people believe he is the better candidate for the job of restoring jobs and prosperity.
“Getting people back to work”
These favorable results for the Trump campaign came in the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey of 1,000 registered voters. The poll spanned May 28 to June 2 and has a roughly 3.1% margin of error.
On the issue of “dealing with the economy,” pollsters found that 48% trusted Trump more while 37% favored Biden.
Similarly, the incumbent bested his Democratic challenger in the response to a question about which candidate respondents believed would be better equipped for “cutting the unemployment rate and getting people back to work.” Trump beat Biden in this category by a margin of 48% to 35%.
This vote of confidence for Trump came even as a clear majority of those polled recognized there is plenty of room for economic improvement.
Just 5% of respondents rated the nation’s economy as “excellent” and another 17% described it as “good.” Those numbers were down considerably from 18% and 29%, respectively, when the same poll was conducted in March.
The number of respondents who labeled the economy “poor” — 46% — was more than double the response to the same question in March. Those who rated it “fair” remained essentially unchanged, dropping from 31% to 30%.
Of course, the pandemic bore much of the blame for that downturn — and a total of 83% of respondents said China is responsible for “a lot” or “some” of the ensuing crisis.
Trump’s overall approval rating dropped a couple of points since February and is at 45% in the latest survey. The more concerning numbers for his re-election campaign, however, come in a head-to-head matchup against Biden.
In that scenario, the former vice president prevails over Trump by a margin of 49% to 42%.
Nevertheless, the president and his supporters are quick to point out that most polls were wrong in 2016, predicting a decisive loss against Hillary Clinton. With economic issues at the forefront of almost every U.S. household, these strong numbers could be enough to propel Trump into a second term.