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Friday, June 21, 2024

How Today’s Economy Could Matter in November

U.S.How Today’s Economy Could Matter in November

Syd Ortiz thinks we’re heading toward another Great Depression.

Ortiz, 32, lives in Bethlehem, Pa., and has a job that she loves, analyzing claims of malpractice and other issues. She is saving up to buy a house. But with prices still feeling high and a recent round of layoffs at work, she feels like the economy has gotten worse.

Now, after sitting out the presidential elections in 2016 and 2020, Ortiz has been paying a lot of attention to politics. And right now, Ortiz, a onetime Obama voter, is leaning toward former President Donald Trump.

“When he was president, we got a raise in my job,” Ortiz said, as she loaded a couple of packages of energy drinks into the back of a big S.U.V. “I haven’t seen anything that Biden has impacted.”

The presidential election is five and a half months away, and a lot of campaign is yet to come: two conventions and at least two planned debates, not to mention a possible verdict in Trump’s criminal trial in New York.

But some pollsters and economists say the impression that voters like Ortiz have of the economy right now could be key to shaping their decisions in November. That’s because, they say, voters think about the trajectory of the economy they perceive over time, not just the way it feels on Election Day.

“The attitudes that really influence the vote are late May and June,” said Celinda Lake, a Democratic pollster for the Biden campaign in 2020, who said the strange mixture of good economic news (employers are still adding jobs!) and frustrating economic news (prices, though climbing more slowly, are still high!) had made it harder than usual to suss out where the economy was headed. “We haven’t had a situation where perceptions of the economy have been so volatile,” she said.

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