At some point earlier this year, an important transition happened. Some time after Jan. 10 and before Feb. 7, two days on which Quinnipiac University released national polling, the number of Americans saying that the state of the economy was due to Barack Obama dropped below the number saying it was due to President Trump.
For the first year of Trump’s administration, the economy was credited to Obama by at least half the country. Then that flip. In Quinnipiac’s most recent poll, released Wednesday, 49 percent of the country credits the economy to Trump, while 38 percent credit it to Obama.
In January, independents were 16 points more likely to say the economy was a function of Obama’s efforts. In February, they gave credit to Trump by two points — an 18-point swing. As is often the case in polling these days, independents drive much of the overall response. On average, the views of independents on the question are about three points different from the views of Americans overall. Why? Because Democrats and Republicans give much more polarized responses: Democrats still largely credit the economy to Obama, and Republicans largely credit Trump.
Quinnipiac’s polling, which generally gives Trump lower approval ratings than other polling firms, has Trump at 40 percent approval, more than three times the approval given to Congress. A plurality of Americans think Trump is handling the economy well; 62 percent think the economy is good or excellent. (Thirteen percent replied “excellent,” the highest percentage since that February poll.)
There’s been a connection between views of the economy in Quinnipiac’s polling and views of Trump. Higher approval of how he’s handling the economy has happened alongside improved views of his job performance overall. It’s not clear which direction that arrow points — better views of him overall could boost views of his handling of the economy, for example — but the two have generally moved in tandem.
All of this is good news for Trump, given the economy’s strength. It also means that any downward change in the economy might be laid at his feet.
After all, it’s probably not a coincidence that views of responsibility switched when they did. That February poll was conducted on a weekend after the Dow Jones industrial average fell by more than 660 points.
During that month, responsibility for the economy swung by a 17-point margin from Obama to Trump.