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American optimism about the economy fails to lift Trump’s approval ratings

The public’s views on the economy continue to cruise at lofty levels but the optimism does not appear to be lifting the president’s approval rating.

The third-quarter CNBC All-America Economic Survey found 43 percent of the public believes the economy is excellent or good, a record high in the 10-year history of the survey. Thirty-six percent believes the economy will get better, down a couple of points from last quarter, but just 23 percent say it will get worse, down 6 points.

The four-quarter average for every major economic metric in the poll — the outlook for the economy, housing, wages and the stock market — is at a record 10-year high. Those four quarters cover the time span since President Donald Trump’s election.

However, just 38 percent of the public approves of Trump’s job as president, up a point from June, while 52 percent disapproves, also up a point.

Approval for Trump’s handling of the economy bumped up 2 points to 43 percent, while disapproval declined by 3 points to 41 percent.

The poll of 800 Americans across the country, including all income groups and regions, was conducted last week and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent.

Overall, the Republican and Democratic pollsters described the president’s rating as “sticky” and unlikely to move much no matter how sensational the story.

Micah Roberts, the Republican pollster for CNBC with Public Opinion Strategies, sees good news for the president. “You can’t get any lower with Democrats and independents are going to fly all over the place and you’re holding your base,” Roberts said. “And you’ve got an extremely positive economic outlook. People are feeling positive about the economy and that’s undergirding all of this data.”

“He has an uncanny ability to sell himself to his base and convince people that whatever he is doing is right,” said Jay Campbell, the Democratic pollster for CNBC with Hart Research. “They’re invested in their guy, the guy they voted for.”

At the same, the polls show the president does not have majority support from any income group. His best showing, among Americans with $100,000 in income or greater, shows an approval rating of just 43 percent.

The president’s economic plans get decidedly mixed reviews from the public. He has strong support on infrastructure, reducing taxes for individuals and businesses, and renegotiating trade deals. But pluralities of Americans disagree with his plans for immigration, climate change and Obamacare.

Asked which one or two items are the biggest obstacles to the president achieving his goals, 39 percent of the public said “his erratic personal behavior,” 21 percent said Democrats in Congress and 19 percent picked “biased media coverage.”

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