Heading Into Election Day, Americans Are Focused on the Economy and Inflation

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 19: U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on energy during an event in the Roosevelt Room of the White House October 19, 2022 in Washington, DC. Biden spoke on American energy independence, green energy investments and announced the release of 15 million barrels of oil from …
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The economy and inflation will be on the minds of most Americans when they cast their ballot in Tuesday’s midterm elections.

Seventy-three percent of Americans say they will be thinking a lot about the economy when they vote, a poll by the Economist and YouGov showed Monday. Twenty-three percent say they will be thinking of the economy a little. Just four percent say the economy will not be on their minds when they vote.

Sixty-eight percent said they will be thinking a lot about inflation and prices. Another 25 percent said they will be thinking about inflation a little.  Six percent said they will not be thinking about inflation at all.

These figures dwarf other issues competing for public attention. Only 38 percent of U.S. adults say they will be thinking a lot about climate change. Fifty-two percent say they will have abortion on their minds a lot. Fifty-nine percent say they will be thinking about crime a lot when voting. Guns come in at 49 percent. Immigration at 55 percent. Government spending gets a major mindshare for 55 percent of the public. Jobs and unemployment score 49 percent.

Most Americans are not happy with the state of the economy. Just 24 percent describe the economy as good or excellent. Seventy percent say the economy is only fair or poor, with a striking 42 percent saying the economy is in poor shape.

Only 11 percent of Americans say the economy is getting better. Fifty-two percent say it is getting worse. Twenty-six percent say it is staying about the same.

Similarly, only 11 percent of Americans say they are financially better off than they were a year ago. Forty-three percent say they are worse off. Thirty-eight percent say their financial situation is about the same as it was a year ago.

Asked whether unemployment or inflation is a bigger problem, just five percent say unemployment. Thirty-five percent say both are equally important. A majority of 51 percent say inflation is the more pressing issue.

Forty-five percent of Americans say the economy is shrinking. Just 17 percent say the economy is growing. Fifty-three percent of Americans say the economy is currently in a recession. Twenty-five percent say they are not sure and 22 percent say the economy is not in a recession.

Forty-three percent say the rate of inflation will be higher six months from now. Twenty-two percent say inflation will be about the same. Only 15 percent expect the rate of inflation will decline.

A majority of Americans—51 percent—say inflation has had “a lot” impact on their lives. Forty-one percent say it has had a little impact. Only eight percent report no impact.

Sixty-six percent of Americans say the issue of inflation is “very important.” Twenty-five percent say it is somewhat important. Seven percent say it is not very important and just two percent say it is not at all important.

The share saying other issues are “very important” is much smaller. Fifty-nine percent rate jobs and the economy as very important. Immigration is very important to 43 percent. Climate change rates as very important for just 38 percent. Foreign policy is very important for 39 percent and national security is rate very important by 56 percent. Fifty-five percent say education is very important. Healthcare scores the same. Taxes and government spending come in as very important for 52 percent.  Abortion is very important for 44 percent. Crime gets the very important rating from 56 percent.

Twenty-seven percent of the public say inflation and prices are the most important issue, followed by health care and jobs/economy at 10 percent each.

Biden’s handling of the economy is disliked. Only 38 percent of the public approves of Biden’s handling of the economy, with 15 percent strongly approving. Fifty percent of the public say they disapprove of his handling of the economy, with 36 percent saying they strongly disapprove. Among independents, fifty-one percent say they disapprove.

On inflation, just 32 percent say they approve of the way Biden has handled the issue. Only 12 percent strongly approve. Fifty-four percent say they disapprove of Biden’s handling of inflation, with 40 percent strongly disapproving. Independents break down as 55 percent disapproving and 21 percent approving.

 

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