When Joe Biden became president, several surveys found a sharp rise in Democrat optimism about the economy. More recent surveys show this has collapsed as the economy has become locked in the grip of the worst inflation in four decades.

Prior to Biden taking office, Democrats were staggeringly negative about the economy. Just six percent said the economy was getting better in early January of 2021, according to the Civiqs daily tracking poll. Seventy percent said the economy was getting worse. Before the election, Democrats had even bleaker views, with 85 percent saying the economy was getting worse in August of 2020.

This stands in stark contrast to the economic reality. The economy grew at a pace of 4.1 percent in the final three months of 2020, faster than expected and much better than it had earlier in the year. By any objective measure, the economy was getting better—but Democrats were in deep denial about that fact.

This flipped once Biden took office. In March of 2021, sixty-seven percent of Democrats said the economy was getting better, and just 11 percent said it was getting worse, according to the Civiqs tracking poll.

This shift was particularly striking given the actual trajectory of the economy. By the first quarter of 2022, real GDP growth actually turned negative. Real wages declined despite unemployment returning to the pre-pandemic Trump-era lows. The economy was recovering to an objectively worse state than we had experienced before the pandemic.

This fantasy of an economic boom could not last—and it did not. The most recent Civiqs tracking poll shows 41 percent of Democrats saying the economy is getting worse, and just 24 percent say it is getting better.

Biden has lost the Democrats when it comes to the economy.

The broader public is extremely pessimistic. Seventy percent say the economy is getting worse, according to the Civiqs poll.  Sixty-seven percent of Americans say the country is on the wrong-track, according to the most recent poll from the Economist and YouGov.  Eighty-three percent say the economy is poor or not so good, according to a Wall Street Journal/ NORC poll. Fifty-eight percent of Democrats say the economy is only fair or poor. Just seven percent of Democrats describe the economy as excellent.

The Biden administration has been attempting to deflect blame for inflation, but this has not worked. The most recent Economist/YouGov poll showed 44 percent of Americans say Biden has a lot of responsibility for high prices, and another 31 percent say he has some responsibility. If we zoom into Democrat views, 16 percent say Biden bears a lot of responsibility, and 42 percent say he has some responsibility.

Fifty-nine percent of Democrats say they have been negatively affected by inflation, as do 76 percent of independents and 81 percent of Republicans. Sixty-six percent of the public says inflation is a very important issue to them, including 56 percent of Democrats.