Alan Abramowitz, a political scientist at Emory University, told me that attitudes about the country’s economic health have become more entwined with partisanship, with Republicans and Democrats alike more likely to grade it favorably under a president from their own party. But, Abramowitz adds, “With Trump you’ve also got the added factor that the negative perceptions of his character, personality, style, and also some of the policies that are pretty unpopular may limit any positive effects of an improving economy or a strong economy.”
Many groups Trump might hope to woo based on the economy remain deeply troubled by his behavior. Consider college-educated white voters. In the new Quinnipiac survey, fully 80 percent describe the economy as “excellent” or “good,” and an equal number say they are optimistic about their financial future. But in the same survey, 53 percent disapproved of his job performance, 54 percent said Trump has abused the power of the presidency, and 66 percent said it is inappropriate to ask a foreign leader to investigate a political rival. In a September Quinnipiac poll, 57 percent said he considers himself above the law. And in both CNN and ABC/Washington Post surveys this week, just under three-fifths of college-educated whites said Trump behaved improperly in Ukraine. With young adults, the story is similar.
Even among whites without a college degree, Trump’s core constituency, the results on these questions spotlight potential cracks for Trump, especially among women. While four-fifths of non-college-educated whites express optimism about their economic future, and a clear majority oppose impeachment, about 40 percent say that Trump abuses his power as president and considers himself above the law.