CNN’s Poppy Harlow questioned Democratic Strategist Basil Smikle on Tuesday over the economy after he tried to defend President Joe Biden’s handling of it.
A recent Wall Street Journal poll found former President Donald Trump leading Biden by 11 points on the question of who had a better record. Trump also led Biden by 10 points in perceived mental fitness to hold office. Fifty-eight percent of those polled said the economy has gotten worse over the past two years, with a majority of those polled disapproving of Biden’s handling of the economy.
The poll surveyed 1,500 registered voters between Aug. 24 and 30 and had a plus or minus 2.5% margin of error.
Harlow noted concerns amongst voters regarding Biden’s age and his economic approval rating, asking Smikle “how do you fight those two things?”
“There’s a couple things. First of all, I understand to some extent if — even if the numbers are better, people don’t feel as though it’s better. If you’re a millennial, you have high mortgage costs, you feel the —” Smikle said before Harlow cut in.
“Your rent is too damn high,” Harlow chimed in. (RELATED: Despite Massive ‘Bidenomics’ Push, Voters Still Don’t Trust Biden To Handle Economy)
“Yeah, rent is too damn high. I honestly understand the concern. Think about what the Biden/Harris team was elected to do. It was elected to run the bureaucracy, engage in good governance and bring the country back to normalcy. They have actually done that.”
“Can I just ask you, though, if perception is reality. Perception is everything. So if you were running the show, you’re a Democratic strategist, what would you change so that people feel what’s happening? So that those young Democratic voters feel it and vote that way?” Harlow pressed.
“Well he’s done a couple of those things. Meaning he’s talked about student loan forgiveness, right? The young voters really are attracted to that policy issue. Continue to talk about climate change and continue to talk about the economy itself. As we’ve looked over the last few cycles, the number of swing states and swing state voters has actually decreased. We don’t talk about Ohio and Florida as swing states anymore,” Smikle said.
“So if we’re talking about a smaller number of states, and voters who are either disaffected Republicans or independent voters, that economic message is really gonna hit home. On the other stuff, particularly what was created after or during the January 6th hearings, I think is really built in with Democrats and Republicans. They are where they are. And likely unmovable. But the persuadable does get persuaded by an economic message.”
Biden has tried to tout his economic record, bragging Friday the U.S. has the “strongest economy in the world” despite a majority of Americans living paycheck-to-paycheck. Research from LendingClub, a financial services company, found 61% of high and low-income Americans alike are living paycheck-to-paycheck while nearly 8 in 10 consumers who make less than $50,000 per year are unable to pay for their future bills until they receive their next paycheck.