Michigan economics and public policy professor Justin Wolfers said Monday on CNN’s “News Central” that it is “pointless” to poll Republicans on the economy because their dislike of President Joe Biden slants their opinions.
Anchor Boris Sanchez said, “You’ve got historically low unemployment, inflation that appears to be cooling, wages are going up, and yet polling indicates that the majority of Americans do not believe President Biden is properly handling the economy?”
Wolfers said, “It’s a puzzle for sure. So I will tell you as an economist, I believe the hard numbers. The hard numbers tell us that the economy’s growing and it’s growing at a healthy rate. If you’d fallen asleep in 2019 and you woke up in 2023, you would discover pretty much the sort of economy you would have expected, and you wouldn’t think to ask, hey, was there a global recession and a global pandemic in between. I think that’s really the president’s great claim that things are as good or better than they would have been without a pandemic.”
He continued, “What there has been, though, is a lot of depressed people. This is where there is this disjunction between reality and perception. The poll you were just describing asked people do you think the economy has gotten better or worse over the past two years, and there’s no question on this by the way. Unemployment is down, inflation is down, economic growth is up, real wages are up. Everything has gotten better over the past two years.”
Wolfers added, “A big part of that is this enormous partisan gap. It’s gotten to the point where it’s almost pointless asking Republicans how they feel about the economy; only 7% of them were willing to admit the economy had gotten better over the past two years. So I think when we ask these questions, people are no longer telling us how they feel about the economy — really they’re telling us how they feel about the president.”
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