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This Fox News poll on Trump and the economy is baffling

Peter Weber

A Fox News poll released Sunday has some good news for President Trump, but if you combine it with the poll's bad news, it's not at all clear where Trump stands with the American public or how voters are feeling about the state of the union.

On the positive side, 55 percent of voters said the economy is good or excellent, the highest number since 59 percent said they felt positive about the economy in January 2001 (two months before the start of the ugly 2001 recession). A 42 percent plurality of voters credit Trump and the Republicans for the economy, and Trump's job approval rating on the economy is a record 56 percent.

The bad news? A 55 percent majority of voters say the way the economy works is unfair and 56 percent say they are dissatisfied with how things are going in the country, Fox News found. Trump's overall approval rating is 45 percent, with 54 percent disapproving, and he is underwater on all non-economy issues: guns (-9 percentage points), immigration (-15 points), foreign policy (-16 points), health care (-16 points), government spending (-18 points), race relations (-19 points), the environment (-22 points), even trade deals (-1 point).

Republican pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson sees the glass half full: "The president's job approval on the economy has consistently outpaced his overall job approval," and "a strong economy creates a good foundation for an incumbent seeking re-election, even if voters will also say things could always be even better or more fair." Democratic pollster Chris Anderson, whose firm conducted the Fox News poll with GOP pollster Daron Shaw, argued that Trump's approval on the economy "is tenuous ground on which to stake his re-election," because "outside the Republican base, voters think the economy under Trump doesn't work for most people."

The poll was conducted Jan. 19-22 by Beacon Research (D) and Shaw & Co. (R), surveying 1,005 randomly selected registered votes over the phone. The poll's overall margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points.

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