On Wednesday, writing for CNN, election forecaster Harry Enten broke down how President Donald Trump has now lost the only major advantage he had over Biden in public polling: the economy.
"Even though a majority of voters have disapproved of his job performance overall during most of his presidency, more voters than not have given him a thumbs-up on the economy," wrote Enten. "But Trump now may be seeing this advantage dissipate. His approval on the economy has seen a dramatic decline since the beginning of the year, and he's lost his edge on the economy over former Vice President Joe Biden."
"Trump's economic approval was at one of the strongest levels of his presidency at the beginning of the year," wrote Enten. "He averaged a 56% approval rating on the economy in a January and February average of polls from ABC News/Washington Post, Fox News, NBC News/Wall Street Journal and Quinnipiac University. His disapproval rating on the economy in these same polls was just 38%. In July, these same polls give him a 49% approval rating to a 47% disapproval rating. When you look at all the polls, you come to a very similar finding. Trump's net approval rating on the economy (approval minus disapproval) has dropped from +16 points in January to just +1 point in July."
Enten noted that some of the drop may be due to voters losing confidence in Trump in general — but added that the severe economic downturn is likely responsible for much of this decline.
Trump had previously planned to use economic growth as the basis for his re-election campaign. But with the coronavirus pandemic triggering shutdowns and mass unemployment, that is no longer possible.
"Trump's goals in the final three months of this campaign are clear: If he can't cut his deficit on the coronavirus, he must at a minimum get voters to think he is the better steward of the economy," concluded Enten. "If the President doesn't turn things around, the lack of an advantage on any of the major issues will almost certainly prove fatal for his campaign."
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