Unemployment

Obama vs. Trump's midterm economy

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.

When crisis hit, we fell far and fast

What America experienced in 2008 wasn't just the start of a recession, or a negative market cycle. We've had lots of both. Nor was it the realization of an existential outside threat, like war or natural disaster.

The reality: Instead, it was a sudden and pervasive fear that the foundation of America's economy had crumbled, in a way that few had ever previously internalized. Not paranoia, but justified panic.

Data: Yahoo! Finance; Chart: Harry Stevens/Axios