Can Biden Convince Voters He Has a Handle on the Economy?

By Adeline Von Drehle
Published On: Last updated 06/20/2024, 07:53 PM EDT

Former President Donald Trump trails President Joe Biden in a recent Fox News 2024 presidential poll for the first time since late last year. The poll showed Biden leading Trump by two points, translating to a tightened RCP Average, where Trump now leads by a mere 0.5 points.

Biden has not led Trump in Fox News’ monthly poll since October 2023, when he led by one point (49% to 48%). Just in the past month, there has been a three-point change in the polls: Trump led Biden 49% to 48% in May and now trails by two points, 48% to 50%.

Much has happened in the past month to possibly impact the polls, including Trump’s hush money conviction, Hunter Biden’s gun trial conviction, a positive U.S. jobs report, and Biden’s executive orders on immigration.  

Improved feelings about the economy may especially help Biden pull his numbers up. While overall sentiment about the economy is still overwhelmingly negative, positive views about the economy are rising.

When asked how they would describe the condition of the nation’s economy, 68% of respondents said “not so good” or “poor.” However, 32% of voters answered that the economy is in “excellent” or “good” shape – the highest percentage in Biden’s presidency. The previous high was 30%, hit in May 2024 and September 2021.

When asked about their personal financial situation, 59% of Americans polled said they are getting ahead or holding steady financially, up five points since last summer, and 44% feel optimistic about the economy, up nine points compared to 2023. Still, over half (56%) of the country is pessimistic about the economy, 41% say they are falling behind financially, and over two-thirds (68%) rate economic conditions as “fair” or “poor.”

Views on the economy have posed an issue for Biden, as his approval rating on the economy has been under 40% for the past two years. Things are looking up, however: The Fox News poll showed a two-year high of 37% of Americans approving of Biden’s handling of inflation, and he holds a 41% approval rating on the economy. 

A recent NPR/PBS/Marist poll – which placed Trump and Biden in a tie at 49% – showed that inflation is the most pressing issue for Americans, with three in 10 respondents answering that it is their top priority when thinking about the November election. The poll also showed that a majority of Americans say Trump (54%), rather than Biden (45%), would do a better job of handling the economy.

If Biden can convince voters that he has a handle on the economy – and polls suggest he is improving on this front – he will have a better shot at the White House in November.

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