Donald Trump has made it clear on several occasions what he sees as his main selling point before the presidential elections in November.
It is of course that old cliché of American political discourse “the economy, stupid”.
The perceived wisdom is that an outgoing president will be re-elected if the economy is strong.
Mr. Trump’s message on this is strong and proud – people are prospering and they have to thank him. Democrats who want to beat him say that not everyone wins.
Virginia has one of the highest levels of income inequality in America. Thousands of Virginians depend on food banks.
The church that runs the Rising Hopes Pantry in Alexandria says that three-quarters of those who use it have jobs, but low wages are simply not enough.
Samantha Jacobs, who works full time as a teaching assistant, said her salary was far from enough to support her family.
She told Sky News: “The economy is not improving for me – for the working class people who work everyday to support our families.
“In order to maintain life as I understand it, it is necessary to come to the pantry. My salary barely pays us to live.”
From homes and businesses across the state – the vision of the problem that could guarantee Mr. Trump’s re-election is ambiguous.
Michael and Steve Poegl are brothers who work in the DIY industry. They have extremely different ideas about Trump’s economy.
Steve says things are rosy and it all depends on Mr. Trump and the way he communicates.
“If you are a leader and people turn to you and show your confidence – if you show that confidence – it will affect people who listen because people turn to you, President Trump,” said he declared.
Michael, who owns the company they both work for, says things are going well, but not because of Mr. Trump.
He said, “I don’t think the tax benefits help me at all – in fact, when I talk to my employees, I don’t see where it has helped them either.”
Steve compares Mr. Trump’s deregulation policy to tackling a “narrowed artery”.
“President Trump is just trying to open it and let the blood flow,” he said.
They agree that Mr. Trump’s economy is open to interpretation. “It all depends on what you are looking for,” said Steve.
Michael provides services to Gather – a workspace company with five locations across the state.
Polly and Doug White are its owners and founders. They say that the message they are getting from the growing number of companies that use their space is that times are good.
Mr. Trump has created a different mood, they said. “It’s optimistic – we all know the economy was growing under Obama – it was growing slowly but I don’t think people are feeling it,” said White.
“It also depends on his policy,” added White. “There’s the tax cut. There have been trade deals that have been renegotiated – there have been a number of things that are really substantial, but I think optimism is a critical factor.”
White believes the economy will be the key to a second term.
“I think if the economy continues to grow and nothing sabotages it in the next six months – I think Trump has a good chance of winning again – because of the economy – people vote with their books of pocket.”
These books each tell of different stores – but it seems that most voters are in tune with Mr. Trump’s burgeoning message of prosperity – and he intends to keep it that way.