It’s the economy, stupid. And in 2022, it’s only the economy, stupid. Despite the White House’s best attempts to rope voters into other issues besides Joe Biden’s utterly disastrous economic policies, ABC’s latest poll shows precisely what other pollsters have demonstrated all along. While inflation rages, it’s practically the only consideration on the table in the midterms.
And that’s bad news for Scranton Joe:
With inflation on the rise since last fall, Americans have been significantly affected by the rising cost of goods and services. And, more than eight in 10 Americans (83%) now say that the economy is either an extremely or very important issue in determining how they will vote, in the latest ABC News/Ipsos poll conducted using Ipsos’ KnowledgePanel.
In the poll, 80% of Americans say that inflation is also an extremely or very important factor in how they will vote and for gas prices, it is 74%.
Joe Biden’s approval ratings for his handling of these key issues are all well underwater, suggesting trouble for the president and Democratic candidates ahead of the midterm. Only 37% approve of Biden’s handling of the economic recovery, and even fewer approve of his handling of inflation (28%) and gas prices (27%).
Even if the White House did succeed in an issue sleight-of-hand, there wouldn’t be much hope for Biden or Democrats on other issues. Biden’s only above water in this poll in one issue — managing COVID-19, where he gets a 56/43. That’s most likely because voters have been ignoring the Biden administration’s attempts to still sell pandemic intervention policies and have instead opted for normality. If Biden and his team began re-imposing mask and vaccine mandates, you can bet that number would also drop.
Biden’s collapse runs much more broadly than just inflation, however. Asterisks denote new lows:
- Inflation: 28/71*
- Gas prices: 27/72*
- Immigration: 37/61
- Economic recovery: 37/61*
- Crime: 38/61
- Russia-Ukraine: 46/52
- Climate change: 43/55*
- Gun violence: 35/64
- Taxes: 37/61*
- Abortion: 41/58 (first time asked in this series)
Which of those issues would Democrats run, even if voters allowed them to dodge on inflation and/or the economy? It’s not going to be gas prices, even though voters have to deal with that on a daily basis. The same is true for crime and taxes. Even climate change is a loser, especially since a debate on that would necessarily include what Biden has done to gas prices.
This answer might give Democrats some dim hope that they can still change the conversation away from economics for enough voters to stem the red tide:
Fully 40% of the electorate chooses the economy as the single most important issue, and that goes to 48% if you include gas prices. That’s not just the Republicans talking, clearly. But even if abortion and gun violence are high-profile issues at the moment, those won’t be sustained into October and November. The daily lived experiences of voters will be what matters in the election — inflation, gas prices, shortages, crime, and the overall economy.
It’s still the economy … and the stupidity.