Biden campaign faces problem with perceptions of the economy that don’t track with data

The way Americans feel about the economy is in direct contrast to measured data showing continued growth and strong employment opportunities for workers that have remained steady despite higher interest rates from the Federal Reserve aimed at cooling activity.

a Harris Guardian poll The poll released this week found that more than half of Americans believe the economy is in recession and contraction, and nearly 50% believe unemployment has reached its highest levels in 50 years and the S&P is down for the year.

These beliefs are in direct contradiction to data, which shows that the economy is not in a recession and has continued to see GDP growth over the past few years, unemployment is less than 4% and near its lowest level in 50 years, and Wall Street indexes are at a record high. . Recent highs this week.

The White House has tried several strategies to promote what has been a strong economy by historical standards under President Joe Biden, but that message has not taken hold with voters. The poll conducted this week was another example of voters’ willingness to vote. Frustration with inflation Their general attitudes toward the economy sank.

Biden and other high-level administration officials have traveled around the country to tout the economic growth and investments made under legislation the president signed into law, but polling data has consistently shown that message is not getting through to voters.

“This is a really good lesson in that perception is reality and the perception in the United States on Main Street is that the economy is not in good shape and that inflation is out of control but that perception will affect people and how they view the president,” said David Cohen, professor of political science and director of the Politics Program. Applied Science at the University of Akron. “It’s a real challenge for the Biden White House and the Biden campaign that they didn’t do a good job of communicating from the beginning.”

Consumer sentiment, which measures their attitudes towards it, also reached its lowest level in six months in the latest reading of the interest rate index. University of Michigan monthly survey. That measure fell from 77.2% in April to 67.4% in May, much lower than economists had expected in another example of poor attitudes toward an economy that federal data suggests is progressing at a healthy pace.

“While consumers have been reserving their judgment over the past few months, they now see negative developments on a number of dimensions. They expressed concerns that inflation, unemployment, and interest rates may all move in an unfavorable direction next year,” survey director Joan Hsu wrote. .

The Michigan poll also found that inflation expectations are trending in the wrong direction in short- and long-term consumer expectations, which could dampen economic activity as consumers spend less.

Attitudes toward the economy are one of the major hurdles facing President Joe Biden’s reelection campaign. The president suffered from low approval ratings for his handling of the economy throughout most of his first term, as frustrations over inflation overshadowed low unemployment rates and economic growth.

The Harris-Guardian poll found that a majority of Americans blamed Biden specifically for the state of the economy, with 58% saying the situation is getting worse because of his mismanagement. His overall approval rating has also been low throughout most of his presidency, failing to exceed 40% in months, as voters have been dissatisfied with other issues such as immigration and the state of American democracy.

The economy is generally the biggest indicator of how people will vote on Election Day and their first priority when deciding which candidate to lobby for. Polls so far this year have indicated a significant advantage for former President Donald Trump on this issue He holds a slight lead in the polls lLess than six months before November 5th.

“The White House and his campaign are now struggling to have a coherent message that the American public can hear, which has really hurt his approval ratings,” Cohen said. “It must be frustrating for the president because I’m sure he’s looking at these economic indicators and wondering: What’s going on? We’re in a good place.”

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