Better economic mood does not translate into support for Biden

However, economic vibrations do not necessarily predict election results, and this campaign is different in many ways than those of the past. “We’re sort of in an unprecedented situation where we’re weighing two incumbents,” said Joanne Hsu, who is leading the Michigan investigation.

Anthony Rice, a 54-year-old Democrat from eastern Indiana, and almost everyone he knows, he said, are doing well right now. Gasoline prices are down, jobs are plentiful and Mr. Rice, a union dump truck driver, benefits directly from the infrastructure law Mr. Biden signed in 2021. Yet few people in the dark red part of the country where there will be lives that recognize him, Mr. Rice said.

“There are more people now working, having better jobs, more likely to get better jobs than at any other time,” he said. “I don’t understand why they don’t see how good it is.”

Amber Wichowsky, a political scientist at Marquette University who has studied voters’ economic perceptions, said it’s not surprising that many Americans feel uneasy despite strong economic data. The pandemic and its aftermath have been deeply disruptive, she said, and it’s not surprising that it will take time for things to return to normal.

The question, Ms. Wichowsky said, is how much, if at all, voters’ views will change as the campaign gets underway in earnest. So far, Mr. Biden has made little apparent progress in delivering his economic message, but many voters are not yet paying attention. In the coming months, the Biden campaign will also step up its efforts to sell the president’s economic record, including billions of dollars in spending on infrastructure and clean energy, which will become easier to communicate as projects get underway.