A strong majority of Americans say the U.S. economy is running strong, and most believe the upward trend will continue under President Trump, according to a Harvard-Harris poll provided exclusively to The Hill. The survey found that 61 percent view the economy as strong, against 39 percent who say it is weak. A plurality, 42 percent, said they believe the economy is on the right track, versus 39 percent who said it is on the wrong track.
Trump and congressional Republicans have claimed credit for the turnaround, noting numerous polls in 2016 that showed that many Americans wanted change in the nation's capital. Democrats counter that former President Obama handed a healthy economy to Trump and point out that the unemployment rate has dropped under 5 percent. At a press conference on Thursday, Trump said he inherited "a mess." Among Republicans surveyed in the Harvard-Harris poll, 60 percent are satisfied with the economic trajectory, versus 23 percent who are dissatisfied. Only 33 percent of Democrats said the economy is on the right track, while 48 percent said it is headed in the wrong direction.
At 65 percent, Trump voters are the likeliest to say the economy is headed in the right direction. "It's really a surprising turnaround given how negative voters have been about the economy since 2009," said Mark Penn, co-director of the Harvard-Harris poll. "But jobs remains the number one issue and a lot of the change in sentiment anticipates tax cuts and infrastructure programs."
The online survey of 2,148 registered voters was conducted between Feb. 11 and Feb. 13. The partisan breakdown is 39 percent Democrat, 30 percent Republican, 27 percent independent and five percent other. The Harvard-Harris Poll is a collaboration of the Harvard Center for American Political Studies and The Harris Poll.
- The Hill, February 19, 2017