Over the course of the year, his position against former vice president Joe Biden hasn’t really moved — nor has his narrow advantage over Biden when YouGov asked how the economy would fare under either candidate.
That said, it was once the case that Trump’s advantage on the economy was robust in a way that current polling doesn’t reflect. One metric, published by Gallup on Friday, evaluated the extent to which Americans saw one party or the other as being more capable of keeping the United States prosperous. Since 2012, Republicans held an advantage on that question each year — until 2020. Now, Democrats hold a narrow advantage (read: functionally equivalent) on that question.
It’s noteworthy that the two other periods in which Democrats held an advantage included 2008 and 2012, both years in which the Democratic presidential candidate prevailed.
Projections from Moody’s Analytics published this week suggest that a unified Democratic government (that is, with Democrats controlling the White House, House and Senate) would lead to broader economic growth over the next 10 years than would a unified Republican government.
If Trump is reelected and Republicans retake the House, the economy would add 8.8 million fewer jobs by 2030 than if Biden wins and Democrats take the Senate. More Americans would stay in the workforce and incomes would be higher, even as corporate profits and stock prices increased by wider margins.
The difference isn’t complicated, as The Washington Post’s Tory Newmyer wrote on Friday.
Moody’s is “not alone in finding a Biden win translating into brisker growth: Economists at Goldman Sachs and Oxford Economics conclude that even a version of Biden’s program that would have to shrink to pass the Senate would mean a faster rally back to prepandemic conditions,” Newmyer reported. “All three see the higher government spending a Biden administration would approve — for emergency relief programs, infrastructure, and an expanded social safety net — giving the economy a potent injection of stimulus.”
Despite that increased spending the projected deficit would be lower under a unified Democratic government, a function of that increased economic growth.
One of the criticisms of the response to the recession that emerged a little over a decade ago was that government spending was too low to spur a rapid return to normal. During most of that period, from early 2011 on, the government was split between Democratic leadership in the White House and Republican control of the House.
This is long-term analysis, which, of course, can be substantially off the mark. But, particularly when coupled with Gallup’s polling, it suggests a climate that isn’t as favorable to the Republican Party as Trump would probably like.
The good news for Trump, of course, is that shifts in the economy haven’t affected his position in the polls yet. The bad news is that the stability the race has seen continues to keep him at a disadvantage.