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Exclusive poll: Trump gets credit on the economy, Republicans don't

Data: Survey Monkey online poll conducted Oct. 30–Nov. 1, 2018 among 2,323 U.S. adults. Total margin of error is ±3.0 percentage points. Modeled error estimates: African-American women ±10.0, age 18 to 34 ±6.0, White suburban women ±7.5, Never Hillary Independent voters ±11.5.0, Rural voters ±6.0, Republicans ±4.5, Democrats ±4.5, Independents ±8.0; Poll methodology; Chart: Harry Stevens/Axios

A majority of Americans approve of President Trump's handling of the economy — the issue that's mattered most to them all year — but it won't be enough to give Republicans a clear advantage in today's midterm elections, according to a new Axios/SurveyMonkey poll.

Why it matters: It shows that the economy is one of Trump's strongest issues with the public. So if Republicans don't do well tonight, it will raise new questions about whether they would have done better if Trump had stayed on message and talked about the economy more.

  • Unlike other issues we've tested in previous Axios/SurveyMonkey polls, Trump's rating on the economy and jobs (53%) is higher than his overall approval rating (46%). That's a sign that he gets at least some credit from people who don't support his other policies — but also that his other policies may be dragging him down.

By the numbers:

  • Independents are most likely to approve of Trump on the economy even if they don't like his job performance (50% approval on the economy vs. 35% overall). He also wins over white suburban women and #NeverHillary independents, two key voter groups we're tracking in the elections.
  • But the public is evenly split on whether congressional Republicans or congressional Democrats would do best on the economy and jobs. Rural voters and #NeverHillary independents prefer the Republicans, while millennials and African American women side with the Democrats.
  • The economy wouldn't help Trump in 2020. Only 45% say he'd be the best for the economy when he runs for re-election — while 51% prefer an unnamed Democrat.

The bottom line: When a president is presiding over an economy this strong — and the public says that's what matters most to them — it's unusual for the president's party not to get a bigger bounce out of it.

Methodology: This analysis is based on SurveyMonkey online surveys conducted Oct. 30-Nov. 1 among 2,323 adults in the United States. The modeled error estimate for the full sample is plus or minus 3 percentage points. Sample sizes and modeled error estimates for the subgroups are as follows:

African-American Women (n=125 +/-  10%), Millennials Age 18 - 34  (n=448 +/- 6%), White Suburban Women  (n=417 +/-  7.5%), NeverHillary/Independent voters  (n=125 +/- 11.5%), Rural  (n=515 +/-  6%). Respondents for this survey were selected from the more than 2 million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day. More information about our methodology here. Crosstabs available here.

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