The more the public learns about the Republican-passed tax cuts, which took effect in January, the more they like them, according to the latest IBD/TIPP poll, which also found President Trump's favorability continuing to climb, as the Democrats' chances of a wave election in November appear to diminish.
The poll found a sharp turnaround in public opinion on the tax cuts, which were universally derided by Democrats, none of whom voted for it. Of those following news about the tax cuts closely, a plurality now says the tax cuts will help their own households and the economy.
On the impact on their own household, 44% now think it will be positive, with 32% saying the effect will be negative. One month ago, only 36% thought it would be positive and 36% negative.
In the latest poll, 48% say the impact of the tax cuts on the economy will be positive, and 36% negative. That's an almost complete turnaround from a month ago, when only 41% said the impact on the economy would be positive, with 46% saying it would be negative.
Even Democrats, who still overwhelming oppose the tax cuts, are more upbeat about their impact. Last month, only 9% of Democrats surveyed said the tax cuts would improve the economy. This month 16% say it will.
"More Americans think that the tax reform will benefit their family and the U.S. economy, and tax reform has lifted Americans' confidence on the economy," said Raghavan Mayur, president of TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence, which conducts the IBD/TIPP poll. "Many think that the tax reform will boost corporate investment in the economy and create jobs."
As history shows, Republicans, just like any other incumbent administration, face headwinds for the midterm. At this point Democrats have an advantage.
The nationwide poll was conducted from January 25 through February 2, and includes responses from 900 adults, giving it a margin of error of +/- 3.3 percentage points.
Other polls have shown increasing support for the tax cuts as companies have started handing out bonuses and raises and announced new investments because of the tax cuts. The survey was conducted before the new, lower federal tax withholding schedules take effect, which could boost support still further.
This could potentially cause trouble in the fall for Democrats, who opposed the tax cuts and say they plan to run in November on the promise to "repeal and replace" them.
President Trump's approval rating remained unchanged in February: 35% approve of the job he's doing, with 58% disapproving. Most of the poll was completed before Trump's well-received State of the Union Address. However, among those polled after the speech, Trump's approval rating was much higher than those polled before the speech.
"Three-fourths of our poll was conducted before the State of the Union address, which explains his relatively lower rating in our poll compared to others," said Mayur. "Most Americans liked Trump's speech, which lifted his approval ratings significantly."
Meanwhile, Trump's net favorability climbed two points, going from -21 in January to -19 in the latest poll. That's up sharply from last August, when his net favorability was -28.
And the IBD/TIPP Presidential Leadership Index climbed for the second month in a row to 40. The highest score Trump has ever received on this index was 49.2, shortly after he assumed office.
As IBD has noted, Trump has plenty of upside potential in his poll numbers, given the public's more optimistic view of the economy. Since IBD/TIPP first started tracking them in 2001, presidential approval and economic optimism have generally tracked each other. Under Trump, however, they have widely diverged, with optimism climbing as Trump's approval has either stagnated or fallen.
Meanwhile, the "blue wave" that Democrats have been hoping for in November, which pundits believed would give them sweeping victories in the midterm elections and result in a majority in the House and possibly the Senate, might be breaking long before the elections are held. The IBD/TIPP poll finds that Democrats enjoy only a 5-point advantage on a generic ballot matchup, with 46% saying they'd prefer that Democrats control Congress, and 41% saying they'd prefer Republican control.
This tracks with what other polls have found. The Real Clear Politics average has Democrats up 6.6 points in a generic ballot matchup. That's down significantly from December, when Democrats had a 13-point advantage.
Since midterm elections tend to favor the party that isn't in the White House, Democrats are expected to gain seats. The question is how big those gains will be.
In other poll findings:
- Only 15% say the economy is in a recession, and 58% say the economy is improving. One year ago, those numbers were 25% and 55%, respectively.
- In a further sign of an improving job market, the poll finds that the share of households considered "job sensitive" — because either someone in the household is looking for work or worried about getting laid off — dropped to 26%, the third monthly decline in a row. At the start of last year, that figure was 31%.
- The Direction of the Country Index climbed to 43.1 in February, which is the second monthly gain in a row. Under President Obama, this index averaged only 37.
- The IBD/TIPP Financial Stress Index was basically unchanged at 51.7. Under President Obama, this index averaged 59.4. (The higher the number, the greater the stress.)
Methodology: The February IBD/TIPP Poll was conducted on Jan. 25 to Feb. 2. It includes responses from 900 people nationwide, who were asked questions by live interviewers on phones. The poll's margin of error is +/-3.3 percentage points.
The IBD/TIPP Poll has been credited as being the most accurate poll in the past four presidential elections, and was one of only two that correctly predicted the outcome of the November presidential election.
Please click here to read the original article on the Investor's Business Daily website.