But even though views of the economy are filtered through partisan views, we have recently seen that they aren’t completely immune to bad news. The latest poll from The Economist/YouGov found that the share of Republicans who felt the economy was getting better had fallen 32 points, from 70 percent in early March to 38 percent. Only 7 percent of Democrats said it was getting better. That was in line with previous polls, but the drop in Republican expectations of the economy could be a bad omen for Trump. If Republicans’ economic expectations sour enough, some of them might disapprove of Trump despite partisan attachments to him.
Yet it might not be as bad as it might seem for Trump, as it’s possible that perceptions about the prospects for recovery will be more important than the current downturn. The media tends to focus more on the economy’s future anyway and less on current economic conditions. So if the economy seems headed toward recovery after the worst of the crisis, that might play favorably in the court of public opinion. Not to mention, voters tend to take a more holistic view of the economy, accounting for as much as two years of past economic performance when voting in presidential contests — which could be good for Trump, as the economy had been pretty good for most of his time in office.