During the 1992 campaign, there was a sign on the wall in Clinton’s campaign headquarters. The sign said simply, “It’s the economy, stupid.” It was true then and has been ever since. From the great recession to the malaise of the Obama years since, the economy has weighed heavily on voters’ minds. And it is the economy that may net Trump a rebound of public opinion.
In the six months since President Donald Trump took office the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up by over eight percent. Since the day of the November 8, 2017, election the Dow is up over 17.5 percent. The S&P 500 is up by almost nine percent and over 15 percent in the same time periods.
The job market continues to improve, especially in the blue-collar sectors that Trump voters have been hurt in. In addition, the average hourly wage was almost a dollar higher this June than last June, at $26.25, well above the minimum wage. Average weekly earnings are up by three percent over the same time period.
Black unemployment, which spent most of the Obama years in the double digits, has fallen to “historic lows” in the first few months of the Trump presidency. As PJ Media reports, while it is still early, and some of the credit can be given the former president, if the trajectory continues, that would be good for Trump.
In recent polling, Trump’s handling of the economy has been his best-performing area. In the most recent ABC News/ Washington Post poll, a plurality of those asked approved of his handling of the economy. Bloomberg reported similar numbers. Trump’s 46 percent approval of his handling of the economy in the Bloomberg poll is three points higher than President Obama’s ranking.
The 28 percent of respondents who said that job security in their household was better is the highest number Bloomberg has reported since including the question in December 2012.
By many metrics, the economy is improving. However, the overall outlook on the Trump presidency by those responding to polling is negative. If the economy continues to improve, will those factors outweigh the media narrative regarding Trump’s job performance?
Past history has shown that how people feel they are doing financially weighs heavily, warranted or not, on how they feel about a president. If the economy continues to improve and economic activity accelerates, Trump could be the beneficiary.
The economy is so far the one bright spot in the Trump presidency. Time will tell if it will translate to a rebound in his overall popularity. The 1992 Clinton campaign admonition may well be proven true yet again.
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Robert Eno is the director of research for Conservative Review. He is a conservative from deep blue Massachusetts but now lives in Greenville, SC.