The economy is making Americans feel a little more upbeat, especially when it comes to jobs and incomes, which could help President Joe Biden’s chances of winning reelection. Fears about inflation have caused Biden’s approval ratings to decline, but Tuesday’s consumer confidence data may be helpful before voters head to the polls in Novembe_
In November, consumers expected more jobs to be available in the next six months, a figure that increased from October to November, according to the Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Survey. The number of people who predicted a small decline in employment over the next six months decreased, however.
“After three months of decline, consumer confidence rebounded in November,” The Conference Board’s chief economist, Dana Peterson, stated in a statement on Tuesday. “Consumer expectations for the next six months recovered in November, reflecting improved confidence about future business conditions, job availability, and incomes.”
Hope Is Beneficial For Biden
For Biden, the more upbeat assessment of the economy might be welcome news. Recent polls show that voters have consistently questioned his handling of the economy.
53 percent of respondents to a New York Times/Siena College survey conducted earlier this month in six battleground states said they thought the state of the economy was “poor.” Comparatively speaking, only 37% of respondents said they thought Biden would perform better on the economy, while 59% selected former President Donald Trump as their possible opponent.
According to a Consumer Board survey, households headed by individuals over 55 had higher consumer confidence than Americans between the ages of 35 and 54. Rising costs, war and strife, and higher interest rates continued to worry Americans. However, according to Peterson, “general improvements were seen across the spectrum of income groups surveyed in November.”
Increased economic confidence, according to some analysts, is a positive development, but Biden still has more work to do.
“These numbers are directionally good,” commented Joshua Doss, a senior political analyst at the opinion research firm HIT Strategies, located in Washington, D.C. “Voters might feel a little bit better in this moment but are still bracing for impact.”
According to the survey, even though two-thirds of respondents still expect a slowdown over the coming year, expectations of a recession reached their lowest point in 2023. The fears of a recession appeared to coincide with recent predictions by some economists that the US economy might experience a “soft landing,” which would mean that inflation would moderate despite high interest rates without doing too much harm to the labor market.
Biden’s chances would suffer in a recession
According to Doss, a recession could destroy Biden’s chances of winning.
Doss brought up one survey item that Biden ought to be concerned about.
“There was not so much confidence among voters in in that lower bracket–35 to 54,” he stated. “The reason why that’s important is because Biden is not doing particularly well with younger voters right now.”
He claimed that millions of young voters will be casting their first ballots and that Biden’s popularity ratings with this demographic leave much to be desired.
“What the economy is to a lot of younger voters–student loan payments, gas and groceries–the Consumer Confidence Index talks a lot about, jobs and wages and sometimes younger voters don’t see that as much, as the economy,” Doss stated.
It was a 40-year high for inflation.
Due to consumer spending and a restricted supply of goods and services, the U.S. economy has been gripped by skyrocketing prices, which at one point drove inflation to a 40-year high. In response, the Federal Reserve aggressively raised interest rates, which increased the cost of borrowing for investments in real estate, vehicles, and businesses.
“Buying plans for autos, homes, and big-ticket appliances trended downward on a six-month basis—perhaps reflecting the impact of elevated interest rates,” Peterson stated.
In October, the rate of inflation dropped to 3.2 percent. It is still higher than the Fed’s target of 2 percent even though it is much lower than it was in June 2022 when it hit more than 9 percent. According to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, gas prices have also decreased to $3.25 per gallon, the lowest since the start of the year. According to a consumer survey, “average 12-month inflation expectations receded back to 5.7 percent after a one-month uptick to 5.9 percent,” which could account for the results, according to Peterson.
Many People Anticipate a Recession
Even though a sizable portion of consumers are still anticipating a recession, the election is still a year away, according to political analyst Doss.
While two-thirds of those surveyed still predict a slowdown over the coming year, expectations of a recession have dropped to their lowest point in 2023.
Work still needs to be done. Surely, we’re not quite in the paid media cycle yet? “Once voters are aware of Biden’s policies, many of his accomplishments are actually quite well-liked,” Doss stated, citing measures like letting Medicare bargain for lower prescription drug prices, which may result in lower medical costs for Americans.
According to him, “We are a full year out,” the media was informed. “An election is only ten significant news stories away. Therefore, anything that forecasts the current election’s result is most likely untrue.”