The newly released Fox News poll points to an electorate that's starting to feel better about the U.S. economy. This question, for example, stood out:
For you and your family, does it feel like the economy is getting better or getting worse?Getting better: 48%Getting worse: 29%
Sure, some of this may be the result of raw partisan attitudes -- Republican voters expressing greater confidence because their party is in control -- but 48% is nevertheless the highest this number has been in several years.Similarly, the same poll asked respondents if they "approve or disapprove of the way Donald Trump is handling" the economy. A 47% plurality said they approve. Not bad,Against this backdrop, one might assume, the president's support would look strong. After all, the economy is nearly always the public's top priority, so it stands to reason that if Americans feel good about the economy, they'll feel good about their president.Except the exact same poll, pointing to the attitudes of the exact same respondents, shows Trump's approval rating dropping five points since last month to 43%.The economy makes a big difference in a president's support, but it's not everything. In fact, let me introduce you to a man by the name of George W. Bush,In October 2006, a month before the midterm elections, unemployment was down to just 4.4%, which is even lower than it is now. Economic growth was also stronger than it is now. (All of this, obviously, predated the start of the Great Recession.)The sitting Republican president, however, was burdened by scandals, unpopular wars, a woeful response to Hurricane Katrina, and a failed gambit to privatize Social Security. Bush's approval rating steadily declined to embarrassing lows, and Democrats soon after rode an improbable wave into the congressional majority.The point, of course, is that Republicans are setting themselves up for disappointment if they're counting on a healthy economy to bolster Trump. Americans may be increasingly satisfied with the economy, but that doesn't necessarily translate into satisfaction with the White House.