The second factor is that household finances have held up better than economic headlines would suggest, because of the trillions of dollars of stimulus passed by Congress back in the spring. The one-off, $1,200 checks that Uncle Sam sent to most Americans a few months ago, combined with the massive $600-a-week temporary boost to unemployment-insurance benefits, meant that the catastrophic job losses of the spring and summer did not translate into income losses, on net, for American families, government data show. Because many households cut back spending on things such as travel, doctors’ visits, entertainment, and restaurant meals, they ended up with more cash on hand and higher savings.

That shoring-up is coming to an end, as many families spend through their stimulus payments and struggle to find work. The recovery is slowing down. Still, congressional efforts on household finances have translated into shockingly good polling on the economy for Republicans. As of September, half of Americans said they saw Trump as an effective leader on the economy, versus 43 percent for Joe Biden. Surveys conducted in October showed voters approving of Trump’s handling of the economy by a significant margin.