Americans' confidence in the economy is fragile, with a majority of voters expressing concern ' a potential vulnerability for President Donald Trump if the current economic situation worsens before next year's election.
The stock market tumbled last week after bond prices flashed a signal that has historically been a predictor of recessions. Stocks rebounded, but that episode, combined with other data suggesting an economic slowdown, has contributed to increasingly dour forecasts from many economists.
But even before last week's swings, voters were expressing doubts about the state of the national economy, according to polling conducted by the online research firm SurveyMonkey for The New York Times earlier this month.
Nearly 3 in 5 respondents to the survey said they were worried about the economy, regardless of whether they were personally struggling or doing well financially. That group cuts across party lines and encompasses a large group of voters who could collectively sink Trump's re-election chances, including 3 in 10 Republicans and 7 in 10 independents.
Leah Proffitt, a 60-year-old Air Force veteran in Tucson, Ariz., is a registered Republican who appreciates Trump's business experience. But she is worried about rising government debt, thinks big businesses have too much power and isn't convinced that the economy is as good as official statistics suggest.
"I have a house. I'm not out on the street. I've got a job," said Proffitt, who works in air quality for the local Air Force base. "We're doing OK. But I don't know that, overall, things are that good."
Proffitt, who voted for Trump in the 2016 primary but for Hillary Clinton in the general election, said she wasn't sure how she would vote next year. Right now, she said, the economy is not her focus because she has a solid job. But if the economy turns south, that could change.
Consumer sentiment ' as measured in both the Times poll and in several long-running surveys ' remains relatively high, particularly among Republicans. Polls continue to show that voters approve of Trump's handling of economic issues more than of his job performance overall.
But more detailed questions have long shown persistent doubts over the health of the economy at large, and at voters' own kitchen tables. Only about a third of those in the Times poll said they were better off financially than they were a year ago.
Respondents split nearly evenly on whether they expected the next five years to bring largely uninterrupted prosperity, or periods of widespread unemployment or depression.
"A majority of people are saying they are worried about the overall economy, regardless of their own financial situation, which for most people is pretty good," said Laura Wronski, a research scientist for SurveyMonkey.
The University of Michigan's Consumer Sentiment Index declined this month to one of its lowest levels of Trump's presidency, in large part because of a sharp confidence drop among Republicans and independents. The Pew Research Center reported this month that just under half of Americans have confidence in Trump's ability to make good decisions on the economy.
Trump's most loyal backers are maintaining a positive outlook on the economy. Among Republicans who strongly approve of the president, 68% said that both their own finances and the broader economy were doing well. But among Republicans who are more lukewarm about Trump, only 36% said the same.
And among independents, whose views could be critical to Trump's re-election chances, only 16% said they felt good about both their own finances and the economy.
Asked about their biggest economic worries, Democrats identified income inequality, while Republicans cited taxes and government spending.
As for their personal finances, Democrats were more concerned than Republicans with immediate problems like low wages and high housing costs; Republicans were more focused on longer-run issues like saving for retirement.
But if the economy stays strong, it could present an opportunity for Trump to win over skeptics.
Maria Tidwell, a 38-year-old resident of Longview, Texas, doesn't like Trump's immigration policies, and she blames him for dividing the country. But she has gotten several raises in her job working for the local government. Her husband recently took her to upgrade her engagement ring.
"The only thing I have liked about him is the economy," she said. "That's it."
Tidwell, who is Mexican-American, voted for Clinton in 2016 and said she still wouldn't vote for Trump because of his immigration policies. But she said she suspected that a strong economy would carry more weight with other voters.
"That may kind of swing them," she said.
The data in this article came from an online survey of 2,994 adults conducted by the polling firm SurveyMonkey from Aug. 5 to 11. The survey has a modeled error estimate (similar to a margin of error in a standard telephone poll) of plus or minus 3 percentage points, so differences of less than that amount are statistically insignificant.