It's The Partisan View Of The Economy, Stupid

With apologies to James Carville, it's not just the economy, stupid. It's also about partisan views of the economy. That was eminently clear in Ipsos's 2024 political tracking briefing Thursday, which shows that while the economy remains the No. 1 presidential campaign issue, how it's performing depends on what party you're in.

In fact, while the economy remains the No. 1 issue for American voters, it's actually declining as a concern as Americans are feeling "less of a pinch," according to Ipsos political tracker Chris Jackson.

That said, "Public perception of the economy tends to be a lagging indicator relative to macroeconomic forces," added his colleague Sarah Feldman, who went on to cite an even more pronounced indicator: party affiliation.

That's when Feldman presented the chart above showing how Republicans and Democrats flipped their sentiment about the economy heading into Election Day and coming out of Joe Biden's inauguration.



"Consumer confidence has as much to do with what's going on in the country as it does with who's in power," she explained, adding: "So if your team is in power, you feel a little bit more confident about the economy."

And while many campaign issues factor into a president's job approval rating, it's the lagging effect of voters' economic sentiment that likely will swing the race in one direction or the other.

Currently, Biden's approval rating stands close to 40%, which Ipsos' Jackson says normally would be considered a "coin flip" for an incumbent president heading into an election year, but he cited historical data showing that barring a major negative event occurring, incumbents historically pick up several percentage points of approval between one-year out and one week prior to the elections.

"We really would expect Biden at 45% to be probably a favorite and at 50% to be almost a lock," Jackson predicted.

This brings me to a comment one partisan reader made in response to my last column, asserting that Biden currently is at a historical presidential approval low. That may have been wishful thinking or at least a projection on his part, but it is anything but the truth. If you want to go back and look at my reply citing historical data from both Gallup, Roper, as well as other leading presidential approval pollsters, you'll see Biden is close to the average of historical presidential approval lows at about this point in his term.

And given the data Ipsos' Jackson cites, he likely will rally over the next nine months barring some significant negative event. And by that, I mean a real one, not a projection, a fabrication or a delusional one. You know -- what they call an alternative fact.

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