Joe Biden and Donald Trump
Joe Biden and Donald Trump AFP

President Joe Biden improved his standing against the presumptive Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, amid increased economic optimism in the United States, a new poll by Fox News shows.

Concretely, the survey shows the incumbent with a three percentage-point jump, now leading Trump 50%-48% in a hypothetical two-way race, when Trump led by one percentage point in last month's edition. It also marks the first time Biden is ahead since October of last year-

Biden still holds a lead in a five-race scenario, with a 43%-42% margin over the presumptive GOP candidate. In May, Trump led by three percentage points in this scenario.

The uptick, The New York Post highlights, "coincides with positive views of the economy hitting record-high marks under Biden's presidency." 32% of registered voters said the economy is "excellent" or "good" at the moment. However, this means that over two thirds of respondents still believe things are "not so good" or "poor."

The slight increase in economic confidence could result from positive data on the inflation front: the consumer price index (CPI) cooled in May for the second month in a row, potentially paving the way for the Federal Reserve to begin cutting interest rates that are currently at a 23-year-high.

Food prices, a key measure for Americans, fell 0.2% last month and only increased by 1% over the past 12 months. However, they are still 20% higher than three years ago.

Other economic indicators also point to a healthier economy, as unemployment remains historically low, and hiring and consumer spending are strong.

While voters still trust Trump more than Biden on the economic front, the advantage fell from 13 to 5 percentage points in just a month, the survey noted. "There is not a lot of movement in this poll since May, but it is enough to make this a welcome poll for Biden," said Democratic pollster Chris Anderson, who conducts Fox News surveys with Republican counterpart Daron Shaw.

The incumbent also saw a large bump on immigration affairs, trimming Trump's advantage by six percentage points (from 15 to 9 in June). Results come shortly after the Biden administration imposed a crackdown on asylum-seeking once the average of daily encounters at the border reaches 2,500.

Recent figures show the measure, along with others taken over the past months, have led to a significant drop in border crossings, with authorities reporting a 24% decrease compared to the previous month in West Texas and Southern New Mexico, according to Border Report.

Concretely, Customs and Border Protection data shows an average of 560 daily encounters this month, compared to 750 in May. The outlet cited other sources saying that there were a little over 2,000 encounters along the Southwestern border on Monday, down from 2,460 on Sunday and 2,840 on Saturday.

The Fox News pollster highlighted the "notable erosion of Trump's advantage on the economy and immigration," as well as larger advantages on abortion and health care for Biden.

"If voters don't perceive Trump as significantly better on the economy and immigration, the rationale for returning him to office will become much murkier for some voters," Anderson concluded.

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