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Expand chart
Note: Consumer sentiment index is not seasonally adjusted. Data: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

The economy is better for President Trump's first midterm election than it was for either of Barack Obama's two midterm elections — largely because it has been steadily improving since the 2008 financial crisis.

Why it matters: In 2010, Democrats lost the House, and in 2014, they lost the Senate — two losses for Obama, and both under weaker economies than Trump has now. Yet it's very possible that Republicans will lose the House under Trump's watch despite the strong economy.

“People get credit for what happens on their watch, whether they deserve it or not," said Doug Holtz-Eakin, a GOP economist. He added, though, that the tax cut and GOP deregulation effort have also helped.

The bottom line: Trump can talk up the strong economy, but if Republicans lose the House on his watch, it will be hard to explain for any other reason than his unpopularity.

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Giuliani associate Lev Parnas convicted of campaign finance crimes

Lev Parnas, a former associate of then-President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Florida businessman Lev Parnas was convicted Friday on charges of conspiracy to make foreign contributions to political campaigns, according to multiple outlets.

Why it matters: Prosecutors said Parnas, then an associate of former President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, funneled over $150,000 from a Russian businessman into U.S. campaigns as part of an effort to land licenses in the U.S.'s legal cannabis industry.

Supreme Court agrees to hear challenges to Texas abortion law

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear two cases challenging Texas' abortion law, which bans the procedure as soon as six weeks into pregnancy, but left the law in place in the meantime.

Why it matters: The court is moving extraordinarily fast on the Texas cases, compressing into just a few days a process that normally takes months. And that schedule means the court will take up Texas' ban a month before it hears another major abortion case — a challenge to Mississippi's own 2018 ban on abortions after 15 weeks.

Officials warn 5 key tech sectors will determine whether China overtakes U.S.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

U.S. intelligence officials responsible for protecting advanced technologies have narrowed their focus to five key sectors: artificial intelligence, quantum computing, biotechnology, semiconductors and autonomous systems.

Why it matters: China and Russia are employing a variety of legal and illegal methods to undermine and overtake U.S. dominance in these critical industries, officials warned in a new paper. Their success will determine "whether America remains the world’s leading superpower or is eclipsed by strategic competitors."