(CN) – Bolstered by approval of his handling of the economy and increased support from independents, President Donald Trump’s re-election prospects have notably improved from just three months ago, according to a new poll.
A Washington Post-ABC News poll released Monday shows that Trump remains competitive in hypothetical one-on-one matchups against half a dozen of his Democratic rivals among registered voters. Trump is down just four points against former Vice President Joe Biden (46%-50%), three points down against former New York City Major Mike Bloomberg (46% 49%) and just two points down against Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders (47%-49%).
The president is down a single point when pitted against Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar (47%-48%) and ties Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren at 48%. South Bend, Indiana Mayor, Pete Buttigieg is the only candidate to lose to Trump outright, 45%-48%.
But the numbers place Trump in statistical dead-heats with all major Democratic rivals given the poll’s margin of error. They also represent sizeable bumps for the president compared to a Washington Post-ABC poll in October that showed four of the leading Democratic candidates for president beating Trump in hypothetical general election competitions by double digits.
Despite which Democratic candidate Trump faces in November, many Americans believe a second term for Trump is inevitable. About half (49%) of the respondents say they expect Trump will be re-elected, while only 43% believe Trump will be defeated by his Democratic challenger.
Trump also saw stronger approval ratings than in recent months. The poll shows that approval for Trump’s job performance in office has increased from 38% last fall to 44% today, while 51% of Americans continue to voice disapproval. When only registered voters are asked, Trump’s approval rises to 47% with 50% voicing disapproval, one of the best margins Trump has seen since taking office.
One factor contributing to the president’s improved numbers is the support from independents. Depending on which Democratic rival Trump will square off with in the upcoming election, anywhere between 47% and 52% of independents say they support the president. These numbers are up compared to October, when he received between 39% and 42% support from independents.
This could prove crucial to the president’s re-election hopes, as independents helped give Trump small but decisive leads in states like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin in 2016, pushing him over the top in the Electoral College against rival candidate Hillary Clinton.
Another contributing factor to Trump’s improvement in the poll is that more Americans believe that Trump has done a good job of managing the nation’s economy. The poll reports that 56% of Americans say that Trump has handled the economy well, while another 56% say they are either not “particularly worried” or “not worried at all” about their standard of living. Both numbers mark improvements for the president compared to previous polling data.
Recent history suggests, however, that a positive outlook on the economy is not always an indicator of election success for incumbents. During the 2018 midterms, around 70% of voters said they believed that the economy was doing well but Republicans lost a net 40 seats in the House of Representatives, ceding control of the chamber to Democrats.
The Washington Post-ABC poll surveyed 1,004 adults and 880 registered voters. It has a 3.5% margin of error overall and 4% margin of error for the registered voters.