CNBC: Economy gets highest marks in 10 years, Trump approval rising

Add this to the immigration-debate bust archives. A new CNBC poll shows that Donald Trump continues to get low marks on immigration — but that his numbers on that issue haven’t changed since last quarter or last year. What has changed are the polling numbers on the economy. The poll shows that Americans approve of the economy, 54/43, the highest numbers seen in this series for ten years. And guess who gets the credit? (hat-top to reader Bob S):

For the first time since President Donald Trump took office, the CNBC All-America Economic Survey shows more than half the public approving his handling of the economy, and it appears to be having some impact on his overall job approval rating.

The president’s economic approval rating surged 6 points to 51 percent with just 36 percent of the public disapproving, a 6 point drop from the March Survey.

It’s not just Trump’s numbers on the economy that have improved. The economic performance has made him more popular overall, with his lowest disapproval ratings yet:

His overall approving rating rose 2 points to 41 percent from the first quarter survey, but the percentage of Americans who disapprove dropped 10 points to 47 percent, the lowest recorded by CNBC during his presidency. Trump’s approval rating remains negative, at minus 6, but it’s also the lowest negative rating recorded since he took office.

The survey suggests that the recent controversy over the president’s decision to separate children from their parents at the border has had little effect either way.

In fact, the polling took place at the height of the intensity over immigration policy. CNBC’s pollsters couldn’t find any particular impact on survey responses:

[A]ny impact on the president’s approval rating is difficult to find in the data. A comparison of the polling conducted Saturday and Sunday with Monday and Tuesday, when the story was more prominent, shows little difference despite considerable public outrage.

It hasn’t had much impact on the generic ballot question, although it’s asked in a more indirect way in the CNBC poll. The question asks whether the country would be better off under Republican or Democratic control of Congress. Republicans edge out Democrats 34/32 on this question, with 34% undecided, which may reflect more on dissatisfaction with both political parties. It’s not a direct which-way-will-you-vote question, but it still nevertheless suggests that the political environment is nowhere near as dire for Republicans as one might think, given the media hysteria over immigration.

The high marks on the economy certainly suggest that, too. As James Carville once famously observed, “it’s the economy, stupid.” Immigration outcomes aren’t really moving the needle except within the bases of both parties, even though they are getting an avalanche of media attention. It’s the pocketbook issues that matter, as they usually do. That, however, leads to another potential issue for Trump and the GOP: if his tariffs backfire, it might collapse whatever momentum the GOP has for the midterms. Next quarter’s economic polling might look veeeerrrry different, unless the White House negotiates quickly and resolves these standoffs before they do serious harm to those same pocketbooks.

David Strom 6:41 PM on September 26, 2022