One of the things that will be funniest to watch once Donald Trump becomes president will be how, all of a sudden, core economic data reflects hard realities and not the machinations of an anti-Trump conspiracy. You may remember way back during the presidential campaign a week ago that Trump would regularly suggest that economic data, like the unemployment numbers, were artificially low and that the real numbers were being suppressed or ignored and so on. They weren't then, and they won't be under Trump, but rest assured that Democrats will quickly point out that Trump once mocked the numbers he's soon going to try to take credit for.
It's almost amusing the extent to which politicians and their supporters try to take credit for/assume the best about themselves and the worst about their opponents. Remember when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stood on the Senate floor in January 2015 and tried to argue that good economic numbers were the result of the Republican sweep in 2014? That was funny.
It was also not unique. Gallup looks at economic confidence numbers on a regular basis, and it polled members of the two major parties before and after last week's election. And guess what! Republicans are suddenly much more confident about the future of the economy and Democrats are suddenly far less confident, as Bloomberg News' Joe Weisenthal noted on Twitter.
It's almost as though . . . opinions . . . are driven by politics??
The exact same thing happened when President Obama first took office, as Gallup noted during his first term.
When George W. Bush was president, Republicans were more likely to think that things were going well. Then Obama came in, and suddenly Republicans were much more skeptical.
Here's a safe prediction I will make: Come January, Republicans are going to have a much more positive view of the president of the United States and Democrats will have a much worse one. Why do I say that? Because that's what happens.
The extent to which partisanship is a driver of economic attitudes, though, is best shown by this chart from the Pew Research Center, noted by Vice News' Matt Phillips in an article this week. Republicans have generally been pretty comfortable with free-trade agreements — until a certain presidential candidate made them a focus of negative attention on the campaign trail. At that point, support for the agreements collapsed among Republicans.
This is hugely advantageous to the incoming president, of course. Trump is getting the benefit of the doubt on the economy already, and getting the benefit of its general strength. That may not last long, because we can expect the numbers among Democrats to tank. In the meantime, though, Trump could point to that increased confidence as he tries to win over the Americans who didn't vote for him.
Not much has changed with the economy over the past seven days, which itself defies some expectations. But American politics has, and that's a primary driver for much of how the country views itself and what it does.