President Donald Trump’s most frequent and most effective lie, that he had built “the greatest economy in history,” appears to be losing its punch at the worst possible time for him.
Trump has never had overall favourability ratings in his entire three years and nine months in office, but for most of that time has enjoyed the perception that he was doing a good job handling the economy. Now, with his election for a second term only days away, just about as many Americans think he is doing a bad job.
A Gallup poll on Thursday found that Trump’s approval for his handling of the economy has fallen to 52%, from a high of 63% just this January.
A CNBC poll in October found his approval on the economy at 47-47, compared to the 51-36 advantage he had two years ago.
“Reality has caught up with him. He had a huge lead in terms of people’s confidence in him as an economic manager, and he blew it,” said Justin Wolfers, a University of Michigan economics professor. “One issue is that people don’t trust what he says anymore. Another is, well, look around – things are pretty grim, and people know this. You can’t bluster past the reality that people are having their hours cut, millions of families are getting by on one fewer paycheque, and no one feels confident that they know what’s coming next.”
That drop in public confidence in his abilities, though, has not stopped Trump boasts. “Did you see the number today: 33.1 GDP, the biggest in the history of our country by almost triple,” he said on Thursday at a rally in Floria hours after the release of new gross domestic product numbers. “We created the greatest economy in the history of the world,” he said at Arizona campaign rally on Wednesday.
Neither assertion was accurate. The economy under Trump has not been the greatest in this country, let alone the world, even before the pandemic. And the 33% growth figure he and his campaign are touting is an annualised rate, and does not make up for the...