An increasing number of Americans are growing downbeat on the U.S. economy, according to a Gallup poll.
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Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index fell from +24 in August to +17 in September, the lowest since the government shutdown ended in January.
“As the poll was being conducted, the stock market was less tumultuous than earlier in the summer, but the August unemployment numbers showed that fewer new jobs were created than expected, concerns about the trade war with China continued and the global economy showed signs of slowing,” wrote Gallup research consultant Megan Brenan.
Fifty percent of survey respondents said the U.S. economy is fair or poor and 48 percent believe it is getting worse. Americans are divided on the prospects of a recession, with 50 percent of those surveyed saying a recession is “not too” (32 percent) or “not at all” likely (18 percent).
While Americans are growing more downbeat on the economy, its underlying fundamentals are still relatively strong.
"You have sort of financial market indicators and economic indicators,” Northern Trust Wealth Chief Investment Officer Katie Nixon told “Mornings with Maria" on Monday.
“Economic indicators - services, very strong; consumption very strong; unemployment, very low. Momentum is slowing. Jobs creation slowing, but still positive and strong. Financial markets - you've got credit spreads that are tight, that’s a positive. You don’t typically see that in front of a recession."
Nixon said the one indicator flashing red is the yield curve.
The strength of the U.S. economy in the two years leading up to the election is critical for a sitting president's reelection chances.
Former President Bill Clinton's 1992 election win against George H.W. Bush was the last time a U.S. president lost a reelection bid. It was also the last time an election occurred within 24 months of a U.S. recession.
Presidents who oversaw a recession in the 24 months leading up to an election lost five of seven campaigns, according to Ryan Detrick, senior market strategist at LPL Financial.
“A recession could seriously cripple President Trump's chances for reelection,” Brenan concluded.