It’s a clunky portmanteau, so if “Bidenflation” is on the way out, our ears might be just as grateful as our wallets.

Relief does seem to be coming on both counts. By a variety of measures, voters are gradually growing less leery of inflation and more confident that a solid economy will last for a while. If you squint, there’s a corresponding improvement in President Joe Biden’s reelection odds.

Inflation peaked at 9% in June 2022 and has since dropped to a much more manageable 3.2%. But the shock of spiraling prices has stayed with consumers, who have remained gloomy about the economy and prospects for the future. Biden’s approval rating dropped as inflation rose, but has not recovered as inflation reversed.

Inflation fever may finally be breaking. In the latest University of Michigan confidence survey, respondents said they expect the inflation rate one year from now to be just 2.9%. That’s the lowest inflation outlook since December 2020, one month before Biden took office. When Biden became president in January 2021, the one-year outlook for inflation was 3%.

What consumers expect inflation to do can be just as important as what actually happens, because it affects people’s willingness to spend money today and their attitudes about, well, practically everything. Surveys have consistently shown that Americans are deeply gloomy, even though the labor market is strong, unemployment is low, and growth is solid.

Web search trends also suggest inflation is taking up less American mindshare. Searches for “inflation” and “gas prices” skyrocketed in 2022 as inflation was peaking and gas prices hit an unprecedented average of $5 per gallon. Such searches fell off as inflation eased, and they’re now at or near the low levels from early in Biden’s presidency when inflation wasn’t yet a concern.

Inflation has been Biden’s biggest economic problem and perhaps the biggest barrier to his reelection. Republicans have pounded Democrats for “Bidenflation,” with some success. Though the rate of inflation has come down sharply, prices are still rising and most price hikes remain. Higher costs for food, rent, and staples are taking a bigger bite out of incomes than before Biden took office, damaging his popularity.

With seven months until voters go to the polls, the race is on to see if inflation and the economic outlook improve enough to give Biden a decisive edge in November. If Republicans are hammering the incumbent for “Bidenflation” when it’s not something voters are much worried about anymore, it could flip the script and make Republicans seem like the ones who are out of touch, instead of a president trying to assure voters the economy is doing great when higher prices are devouring their paychecks.

The trend does seem to be going Biden’s way. The University of Michigan’s overall sentiment index has been rising out of recessionary territory and is now at the highest level since July 21, just five months into Biden’s term.

“Strong performance in equity markets this month may have helped lift the index slightly,” Oxford Economics reported on March 28, “but the real driver of the improvement in the index seems to be increasing confidence that inflation will continue to soften.”

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Is it helping Biden politically? Maybe. Biden’s presumed Republican opponent, former President Donald Trump, has been leading Biden in a number of polls, but that edge looks to be fading. “Don’t look now, but there have been multiple recent datapoints suggesting that the Presidential horserace is starting to tighten,” Tobin Marcus of Wolfe Research wrote to clients on March 28.

The latest Quinnipiac poll shows Biden beating Trump, nationwide, by 48% to 45%. Six months ago, Trump had a slight lead. In Bloomberg/Morning Consult polls, Biden is getting stronger in swing states, while Trump is getting weaker. The Moody’s Analytics presidential election model, which is based largely on current economic conditions, forecasts a 308-230 electoral college win for Biden.

Biden remains in a tougher spot than in 2020, when he held a wider lead over Trump at the same point in the election. The 81-year-old president’s age is more of a concern now, and the third-party candidacy of Robert Kennedy could take votes from Biden, a problem he didn’t face last time around.

Barring unforeseen events, however, the outlook seems to favor Biden. Economists think inflation will continue its gradual decline and the Federal Reserve may start cutting interest rates sometime this year, which would lower mortgage rates and make borrowing a bit cheaper. There’s no sign of a recession, and a five-month stock market rally has enriched the 60% of Americans lucky enough to own shares.

Trump, meanwhile, is now scheduled to face a criminal trial relating to allegations of business fraud in late April, one of four criminal prosecutions on his plate. While the others may be delayed until after November, the upcoming trial in New York City now seems likely to reach a verdict by summer, and some Trump supporters say they’d be less likely to vote for him if convicted of a crime. If “Trumpvict” becomes a buzzword in the 2024 election, Bidenflation may matter even less.

Rick Newman is a senior columnist for Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @rickjnewman.

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