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Half of all voters in the 10 states that voted for Trump but have Democratic senators say the economy is better off now than it was a year ago, according to new Axios/SurveyMonkey polls. And in nine of the states majorities approve of the GOP tax law.

Expand chart
Data: SurveyMonkey polls conducted February 12-March 5, 2018Poll Methodology, Bureau of Labor Statistics; Note: December 2016 and 2017 state unemployment values used; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios

Why it matters: Economic optimism underscores the challenges faced by Democrats as they try to take back the House and Senate. As we wrote yesterday, five Senate Democrats would lose to Republican candidates if the election were held now —Democrats need to pick up two seats to regain the majority.

Our thought bubble on the economy from Axios Business Editor Dan Primack: Democrats are stuck. They spent the Obama years yelling about how the economy was doing well, while Republicans closed their eyes and jammed their fingers in their ears. Now that Republicans have decided it's safe to see the obvious, the Democrats either must agree that the economy is growing under Trump or look like hypocrites. Yeah, the GOP is also being hypocritical, but its current position is the factually correct one.

But, but, but... Americans were far more split on their economic expectations for the future, according to a recent AP poll, :

  • 34% said the economy will get better, 32% said it would say the same and 33% expected it to get worse
Expand chart
Data: SurveyMonkey polls conducted February 12-March 5, 2018Poll Methodology; Note: "Disapprove" and "Approve" include "Somewhat" and "Strongly" responses; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios

Despite the approval rating of the tax bill, more than half of voters in each state didn't think they would personally benefit from the tax law.

Behind the numbers:

  • West Virginia and Montana are two of the most optimistic states about the economy being better than it was a year ago. Sens. Tester and Manchin are the two of the most vulnerable Democrats according to our poll.
  • Republicans will certainly use approval of the GOP tax plan while campaigning, and that could really hurt Democrats considering not a single one voted for the bill.

Methodology: These SurveyMonkey/Axios online polls were conducted February 12- March 5, 2018 among a total sample of 17,289 registered voters living in Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Missouri, Indiana, West Virginia, Montana, North Dakota.

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Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
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