For first time, more voters see economy fading than improving under Trump

More voters for the first time say the U.S. economy is getting worse than better since President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump's top adviser on Asia to serve as deputy national security adviser United Auto Workers strike against GM poised to head into eighth day Trump doubles down on call to investigate Biden after whistleblower complaint: 'That's the real story' MORE’s election amid rising recession fears, according to a new poll.

In the Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday, 37 percent of respondents said the U.S. economy was deteriorating, 31 percent said it was improving and 30 percent said the forecast was holding steady. 

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The new numbers show a significant slide in voters’ confidence in the economy after two months of escalating trade tensions, slowing global growth, a U.S. manufacturing recession and a flight to safety in financial markets.

A Quinnipiac poll conducted in June found that just 23 percent of voters said that the U.S. economy is getting worse, while 39 percent said it is getting better and 37 percent said it is staying the same. 

"As trade tensions with China dominate the headlines, confidence in the economy is slipping," said  Quinnipiac University polling analyst Mary Snow on Wednesday. 

"The number of people who think the economy is getting worse rose by double digits since June,” Snow noted.

Fading confidence in the economy could be a major obstacle for Trump, who is depending on a strong job market and solid U.S. growth to garner support from swing voters in the 2020 presidential election. 

While Trump remains widely unpopular beyond his base, his handling of the economy receives higher marks from voters than any other aspect of his presidency. Voters disapproved of Trump’s performance as president by a 56 to 38 percent margin, according to the poll, but only disapproved of the president’s economic policy by 49 to 46 percent.

Even so, the mounting costs of Trump’s trade war with China have damaged his leading argument for reelection. Forty-one percent of poll respondents blamed the president’s policies for damaging the economy, the highest level since Trump took office. 

The U.S. economy is still holding strong despite fading domestic business investment and economic retractions in Europe and Asia. Unemployment remains at a near-record low of 3.7 percent, the economy grew by at a decent 2.1 percent annualized rate in the second quarter and consumer spending has remained strong.

Trump and his top allies have responded to recession fears by touting strong domestic numbers and deflecting blame for the souring outlook to frequent scapegoats. The president has accused Democrats, without evidence, of trying to cause a recession to sabotage his reelection and ramped up pressure on the Federal Reserve to match ultra-low European interest rates.

"Our Federal Reserve cannot 'mentally' keep up with the competition — other countries. At the G-7 in France, all of the other Leaders were giddy about how low their Interest Costs have gone," Trump tweeted Wednesday.
 
"Germany is actually 'getting paid' to borrow money — ZERO INTEREST PLUS! No Clue Fed!" Trump continued, touting a German economy that shrunk in the second quarter of 2019.
 
The new Quinnipiac poll of 1,422 registered voters, conducted from Aug. 21 to 26, has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.