For first time since Trump elected, more voters say economy is worsening

Election day is still 15 months away, but the grim outlook on the U.S. economy is cause for concern for many voters.

Roughly 4 in 10 voters say President Trump’s policies are hurting the economy, the highest level since Trump became president, according to a new Quinnipiac poll. Nearly half of voters (49%) disapprove of his handling of the economy, compared to 46% who approve. According to a recent poll by Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, voter approval of Trump’s handling of the economy has slipped by 5 percentage points compared to last year.

More Americans (37%) say that the economy is getting worse than the 31% who say it’s getting better – the first time since Trump has been in office.

When asked to rate the state of the nation's economy, 61% of voters say that it is excellent or good, while 37% say that it’s not so good or poor, Quinnipiac found. While the numbers are still positive on the U.S. economy, they’re the lowest excellent/good economy numbers found by Quinnipiac since April 2018. Voters also say that Trump's policies are hurting the nation's economy at 41%; 37% say they are helping; and 20% say his policies make no difference.

Recession concerns have begun bubbling up amid an escalating trade dispute between the U.S. and China and forecasts of slowing GDP growth: Economists forecast GDP growth of 2.3% this year and 1.8% next year.

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event at Keene State College in Keene, N.H., Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Top Democrats could beat Trump now

Quinnipiac also found that top Democratic presidential candidates Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and Pete Buttigieg would all defeat Trump if the election were held now. Biden would get 53% of Democratic and Independent votes vs. Trump, followed by Warren (52%), Harris (51%), and Buttigieg (49%).

Trump’s job approval rating was at 42%, according to a recent Gallup poll. More Americans disapprove of his handling of the presidency now than they did a month ago: 56% vs. 54%. “In hypothetical matchups between President Trump and the top five Democratic presidential candidates, one key number is 40,” said Mary Snow, Quinnipiac University polling analyst. “It’s the ceiling of support for Trump, no matter the candidate. It hovers close to his job approval rating, which has stayed in a tight range since being elected,” she said in a statement.

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2019, for a short trip to the White House after returning from the G-7 Summit in Biarritz, France (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Quinnipiac partially attributes Trump’s low numbers to a lack of support among white women, noting this was a key bloc that voted for Trump in 2016. New data shows this group would give Trump’s Democratic opponent double-digit support.

While all top five Democratic candidates would defeat Trump in the new poll, Biden has the best shot at being the Democratic candidate. Biden leads his Democratic rivals with a 32% approval rating, compared to Warren (19%), Sanders (15%), Harris (7%), and Buttigieg (5%).

From August 21 - 26, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,422 self-identified registered voters nationwide.

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