Trump’s Edge on Economy Vanishes as More Voters Now Trust Biden

President Donald Trump may have lost the one remaining issue advantage he had with voters, with 50% in one new poll released Wednesday saying they trust Joe Biden to do a better job managing the U.S. economy.

The Quinnipiac University poll also gives the former vice president a 52% to 37% lead over Trump, a 15-point margin that’s the largest of any independent national poll since last October.

An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released later Wednesday showed better news for Trump on the economy -- with 54% saying they approved of his stewardship -- but still contained troubling signs for his re-election as the president trailed Biden by 11 points overall.

The Quinnipiac poll is the first to show Trump losing the economic argument, and it remains to be seen whether it’s an outlier or marks a turning point in public opinion. Until now, Biden led on every other issue of importance to the electorate.

The public support for Trump’s economic performance continued even as the U.S. economy cratered when a broad swath of businesses in the country shut down to stop the spread of the coronavirus in March. Millions of Americans lost their jobs and the cuts have continued despite record stimulus measures invoked by the government and U.S. Federal Reserve.

But as the crisis continues into its fifth month, the recovery is showing signs of stalling or contracting as some states like California, Texas and Florida have seen a resurgence in cases and have pulled back their reopenings. American job gains are set to slow sharply or even reverse in July as a result.

Trump’s poor economic reviews come even as the stock market continues to make up most of the ground lost in the early days of the pandemic crisis — a yardstick he has frequently touted as workers find their retirement funds recovering.

But those funds are linked to Americans having jobs.

More than 18 million people are claiming unemployment insurance and millions more self-employed or gig workers have sought assistance during the crisis.

And with stimulus benefits for the unemployed expiring by the end of the month, many of them worrying about how to pay bills.

The Trump campaign dismissed any suggestion Biden was gaining an edge with voters on the economy.

“We don’t have to guess what the economy under Joe Biden would look like, we all lived through the slowest economic recovery since World War II under the Obama-Biden administration,” said Erin Perrine, a Trump campaign spokesperson. “President Trump has built the greatest economy our country has ever seen and will do it again.”

The Quinnipiac survey is only one poll and there are more than three months until the Nov. 3 election. Last month, the same survey gave Trump a 5-point advantage on the economy. He’s now at a 5-point disadvantage, with 50% saying Biden would do better and 45% Trump.

Trust in Trump’s handling of the economy fell most among voters under age 35, white men and independents.

Voters say the economy is the most important issue in the election, followed by the coronavirus and racial inequality.

Biden leads on virus and race issues, too. The poll found voters trust Biden more on the coronavirus, 59% to 35%, and racial inequality, 62% to 30%.

Trump’s Edge on Economy Vanishes as More Voters Now Trust Biden

Trump’s job approval rating fell to 36%, a six-point drop from June, while 60% disapproved.

“There is no upside, no silver lining, no encouraging trend hidden somewhere in this survey for the president,” said Quinnipiac University polling analyst Tim Malloy.

The NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, however, maintained a positive approval of Trump’s management of the economy seen in previous surveys. In fact, the 54% economic job approval rating was the highest Trump has scored in that poll since 2017.

That poll did not ask whether Biden would do a better job, however.

The Quinnipiac poll of 1,273 registered voters was conducted July 9 to 13 with a margin of error of 2.8 percentage points. The NBC/Wall Street Journal surveyed 900 registered voters with a margin of 3.27 points, and ended a day earlier.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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