A majority of Americans say Republicans will do a better job bolstering the economy, giving the party its widest lead over Democrats on that metric in three decades, a new Gallup poll found. The poll, conducted April 1-21, showed that 53% of U.S. adults believe Republicans would do a better job on the economy, compared with 42% who said Democrats would. This represents the first time Republicans have held a majority advantage on this issue since 1994. The 11-percentage-point lead is the largest Republicans have had on the economy since Gallup began asking the question in 1992. The previous high was a 5-point lead in 1994, amid the Republican Party's so-called "Contract with America" campaign. The poll comes as President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats push for a massive infrastructure plan that they say will create jobs and help boost economic growth. The $2.25 trillion proposal, dubbed the American Jobs Plan, includes funding for physical infrastructure improvements, clean energy investments, and care for elderly and disabled Americans. However, Republicans have criticized the plan as too broad and filled with unrelated spending. They argue that it will lead to tax increases and excessive government intervention in the economy. According to the Gallup poll, 66% of Republicans believe their party would do a better job on the economy, while only 33% of Democrats believe the same about their party. Independents were split, with 49% saying Republicans would do a better job and 43% saying Democrats would. The poll also found that Republicans have an advantage over Democrats on several other key issues. They lead the Democrats by 15 points on handling the federal budget, 14 points on protecting the country from terrorism, and 11 points on handling crime and the treatment of minority communities. However, Democrats hold an advantage over Republicans on handling healthcare, by a 1-point margin, and on protecting the environment, by an 18-point margin. The poll results reflect a broader trend of shifting attitudes toward the two major political parties. Over the past decade, Republicans have steadily gained ground on the economy, while Democrats have seen their advantage on healthcare and the environment shrink. In 2012, Democrats held a 22-point advantage over Republicans on the economy, but that lead has steadily declined over the years. In 2019, the two parties were tied on the issue, with 48% saying Republicans would do a better job and 47% saying Democrats would. Meanwhile, Democrats have seen their advantage on healthcare shrink from a high of 27 points in 2009 to just 1 point today. On the environment, Democrats held a 32-point lead over Republicans in 2001, but that lead has also narrowed significantly over the years. The shifting attitudes on the economy and other key issues could have important implications for future elections. The economy has long been a top issue for voters, and Republicans' newfound advantage on this issue could help them in the 2022 midterms and beyond. It is worth noting that public opinion can change quickly and is often influenced by events and external factors. The Gallup poll was conducted during a period of economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, with businesses reopening and vaccines becoming more widely available. As the economy continues to recover and the Biden administration's policies take effect, attitudes toward the two parties' handling of the economy could shift once again.
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