Economy Improves, But Will It Boost Biden’s Chances?

The US economy has shown signs of improvement in recent months, as inflation eases and consumer confidence rebounds. But will it be enough to help President Joe Biden win re-election in November?

The 36-year-old Democrat Nancy Pontius from Pennsylvania is not worried about the economy. She says she has felt the impact of higher gas prices, but she thinks they are temporary. She voted for Mr Biden in 2020 and plans to do so again, driven by issues like abortion. “I’m not worried about the big picture economy,” she says.

Nancy Pontius says she is not worried about the "big picture economy"

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Ms Pontius is among the Democrats who are now more positive about the economy than at any point during the Trump presidency, according to the University of Michigan, which has surveyed consumers for decades. Even some Republicans have become less pessimistic, their research shows.

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Mr Biden’s first term has been marred by a record 18% jump in prices, which has fueled economic discontent and eroded political support. Even as the US economy’s strong recovery from the pandemic drew admiration from abroad, opinions at home remained largely negative.

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The only exception was the northern province of Hebei, which had a recent outbreak and imposed a lockdown on its capital, Shijiazhuang

Now there are signs that may be changing, as gas prices fall back towards $3 a gallon nationally and wages get closer to catching up with price rises. Economic sentiment – what some pollsters describe as the “vibe” that people feel around the economy – has improved in business surveys in recent months.

The White House hopes the change in mood will last and boost support for the president as the election approaches in November – especially in key swing states like Pennsylvania. But that’s far from certain.

The president’s approval ratings are hovering around the lowest levels of his term, hit by concerns over immigration, his age and the war in Gaza. And despite the positive signs, overall economic sentiment has yet to recover from the beating it took during the pandemic, despite solid growth and a historic streak of unemployment below 4%.

Among Democrats, the issue is particularly hurting Mr Biden with those under the age of 30, just a quarter of whom rated the economy as excellent or good in a recent Pew survey, compared to 70% over the age of 65. Kim Schwartz, a 28-year-old health technician from Pennsylvania, voted for Mr Biden in 2020 but has been disappointed by his economic policies. “I don’t see any progress in getting more money into the hands of middle class and working class Americans to keep up with [inflation],” she says.“I am going to vote, but whether it will be a write-in or third party or Biden, I don’t know.”

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Source : BBC NEWS

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