Americans are feeling better about the economy than they have in years as 2020 election nears: Poll

Key Points
  • Voters think the economy is doing better than they have in nearly two decades, according to a new CNN poll. 
  • That could be good news for President Donald Trump as he runs for re-election in 2020. 
  • It is unclear if voters' rosy outlook on the economy is enough to keep Trump in the White House, as he is still saddled with a relatively poor approval rating. 
Shoppers cram into a Macy's store ahead of the holidays.
Charles Sykes | AP

President Donald Trump has one key factor in his favor ahead of his 2020 re-election bid.

Seventy-one percent of Americans say the economy is good, while only 27 percent rate it poor, according to a CNN poll released Monday. The last time respondents to the CNN poll held such rosy views of the economy was 2001.

Trump, saddled with a relatively poor approval rating in many swing electoral states, faces a challenging path to keeping the White House next year. If he stays in office, he may have a strong U.S. economy to thank.

U.S. gross domestic product has grown at a healthy rate. While job creation slowed significantly in February, wages have started to grow more after an adjustment for inflation.

Other recent polls have shown general optimism about the economy. In late February, 53 percent of Americans said they think there will not be a recession in the next 12 months, versus 33 percent who believe the economy will contract, according to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

Generally, voters' contentment with their wallets bodes well for an incumbent president. Trump has repeatedly pointed to a strong economy as evidence of his policy success as he seeks another term.

Still, even a strong economy may not save Trump. In the same CNN poll Monday, 42 percent of respondents said they approve of the job he is doing overall, while 51 percent said they disapprove.

While the president's approval rating has climbed from 37 percent in a January CNN survey, it remains lower than a peak of 45 percent seen in March 2017.

It is also unclear whether the economy will drive voting choice more than other factors next November. In September 2018, 69 percent of respondents to a CNN poll said the economy was good.

About two months later, Trump's Republican Party lost 40 net seats in the House and control of the chamber in the midterm elections. Several seats flipped to Democratic control in Pennsylvania and Michigan, two states that helped to deliver the White House to Trump in 2016.

The CNN poll released Monday had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.

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