It’s beginning to look a lot like 2014, according to CNBC’s pollsters in their All-American Survey series. The generic-ballot poll now favors Republicans by two points, 48/46, but as CNBC notes, Democrats usually need a substantial lead in this measure to hold serve.

And even that’s not the really bad news from the CNBC report. Biden’s less underwater than in July, 46/50, but the Democrats trail on economic issues by double digits in an election dominated by inflation and wage erosion:

The third-quarter CNBC All-America Economic Survey finds some modest improvements in economic attitudes and in President Joe Biden’s approval ratings across the country, but Americans still harbor mostly negative views on the economy and give the GOP double-digit leads on key economic and financial issues ahead of the November elections.

Biden’s overall approval rating improved 10 points from the July survey with 46% approving and 50% disapproving. Approval of Biden’s handling of the economy also rose 10 points, with 40% approving and 56% disapproving. While they were the president’s best numbers since 2021, the improvement came largely from increased Democratic support. Approval by independents on the economy remained unchanged from the prior poll at just 25%.

Americans’ views on the current state of the economy rose 5 points from the prior survey, yet still remain at a low level. Only 16% say the economy is excellent or good, up from 11% in July; 83% call the economy fair or poor, the third straight survey where the percentage has been above 80.

On the outlook, 27% expect the economy to improve in the next year, up from 22% in July, with 45% expecting it to get worse, down from 52% in July. The 45% who believe the economy will worsen is the third most pessimistic result in the 14-year history of the survey, eclipsed only by the surveys in July and a year ago.

That gives readers a pretty good look at the overall political environment — gloomy and likely angry. Other poll numbers give a clearer indication of whom voters are angry with on these issues. On the question of which party would do better on each issue, the GOP has double-digit leads heading into Election Day:

  • Inflation: GOP 42%, Dems 27%
  • Taxes: 40/29
  • Deficit: 36/25
  • Job creation: 43/33

Democrats only win on two issues asked in the survey — looking out for the middle class (42/38, more or less a tie) and the cost of healthcare (44/28). Unfortunately for Democrats, health care costs are not a high priority for Americans who are struggling to keep up with food and energy costs and watching their buying power drain out over almost the entirety of Joe Biden’s presidency.

Worth noting: Apparently voters aren’t buying Democrats’ spin on their Inflation Reduction Act — not on inflation, and not on deficit issues either. That may well be because Biden followed up the IRA with his pledge to spend at least $400 billion on his Academia bailout, instantly wiping out the deficit reduction of the IRA as well as any hope of impacting inflation. Voters are smarter than Biden and Democrats believe, at least, and it appears they’re smarter than Biden and Democrats themselves.

And all of this assumes that this poll is accurately capturing the current political environment. Does anyone really think that Biden’s at the popularity level that even a 46/50 job approval rating would indicate? His current RCP average is 43.1/54.1 and going in the other direction this week. In fact, CNBC’s 46% ties for the highest in RCP’s aggregate with a Fox poll two weeks ago, coming in a point above the latest Biden-friendly YouGov series iteration. NYT/Siena and Trafalgar put it at 39% while Reuters has it at 40%, while CNBC’s 50% disapproval rating is the lowest in RCP’s current aggregation.

Even this apparent outlier is bad news for Biden and Democrats. Reality in three weeks is likely going to be even worse.

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