Biden goes into 2024 with the economy getting stronger, but voters feel horrible about it

 President Joe Biden faces a significant challenge heading into next year's election: Just as the U.S. economy is getting stronger, people still feel horrible about it.

Pollsters and economists are noting an unprecedented gap between the improving health of the U.S. economy and the negative perception held by the public. This disparity may play a pivotal role in determining whether President Joe Biden secures a second term in the upcoming election. Republicans are capitalizing on the widespread dissatisfaction to criticize Biden, while the White House is encountering challenges in highlighting economic advancements.

Democratic pollster Celinda Lake, who has collaborated with Biden, expressed concern over the situation, stating, “Things are getting better and people think things are going to get worse — and that’s the most dangerous piece of this.” Lake highlighted that voters are no longer content with simply seeing a decrease in inflation rates; they now desire a clear reduction in prices, a circumstance not widely experienced since the Great Depression.

“Honestly, I’m kind of mystified by it,” Lake admitted.

Despite robust economic indicators, including a November employment report showing the addition of 199,000 jobs and a decline in the unemployment rate to 3.7%, there is a prevailing sense of discontent among the public regarding the U.S. economy. Inflation has also significantly dropped from 9.1% to 3.2% over a little more than a year without causing a recession—a development some economists refer to as "immaculate."

However, the University of Michigan's Index of Consumer Sentiment suggests that people remain pessimistic about the economy. While there was a recent uptick in sentiment, the index still lags slightly behind its July level. Notably, in a potential warning sign for President Biden, respondents to the index survey brought up the 2024 election. Sentiment increased more significantly among Republicans than Democrats, indicating a potential rise in optimism among GOP voters about winning back the White House.

"Consumers have been feeling broadly uneasy about the economy since the pandemic, and they are still coming to grips with the notion that we are not returning to the pre-pandemic 'normal,'" commented Joanne Hsu, director and chief economist of the survey, regarding the overall trend in recent months.

Jared Bernstein, chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, emphasized the essential role of a strong underlying economy in eventually boosting consumer sentiment. He argued that as the economy continues to improve, more individuals will recognize the benefits, leading to an improvement in sentiment.