The economy is by far the most important issue to the American electorate right now–and the public is revolted at the way the Biden administration is handling its problems.
Fifty-percent of Americans say that the economy and inflation are the number one issue they want President Joe Biden and the Democrat-controlled Congress to make their top priority, according to a poll released Friday by the Wall Street Journal.
That’s twice the share of the conflict of Ukraine, the next highest scoring priority. Behind that is border security and immigration at 15 percent.
Sixty-five percent of Americans says the economy is headed in the wrong direction, with just 24 percent saying it is headed in the right direction. Sixty percent say the state of the economy is not so good or poor, with just 39 percent having a positive assessment. Only six percent of that positive assessment share say the economy is excellent.
When asked specifically about Biden’s handling of the economy, 59 percent disapprove, including 49 percent who strongly disapprove. Thirty-nine percent approve, with just 18 percent strongly approving.
On inflation, Biden gets even worse marks. Sixty-three percent disapprove of the president’s handling of the issue of inflation and rising prices, including a 54 percent who strongly disapprove. Only 34 percent approve, with just 13 percent strongly approving.
Most Americans think their incomes are falling or staying flat, the poll shows. Just 26 percent said their household income has increased over the past year. Twenty-eight percent said income was down and 45 percent said it was unchanged.
Of those who said their income increased, however, 39 percent said inflation had risen more. Twenty-eight percent said their income increase had kept up with inflation. Just 29 percent said they were ahead of inflation.
The share of Americans who say inflation is causing a major financial strain on their families rose two points from November to 30 percent. Twenty-eight percent said inflation is causing a minor strain, even with November. Thirty-two percent said inflation is not a problem yet but will be if it continues to rise. Just 11 percent said they were not concerned about inflation.
Given these views, it’s not surprising that the U.S. public has far less confidence in Democrats than Republicans when it comes to the economy. On the question of which party best able to “rebuild” the economy, Americans favor Republicans over Democrats 47 percent to 34 percent. On the question of which party has “a better economic plan to make life easier for people like you,” Republicans come out ahead at 45 percent compared with Democrats at 35 percent.
A separate survey from the University of Michigan found that consumer sentiment fell to the lowest level since 2011 in early March, while inflation expectations rose to the highest level since 1981. The share of Americans expecting their household finances to worsen over the coming year reached its highest ever.
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