A Pew Research Center poll revealed that nearly all Americans are concerned about the rise in the cost of food and consumer goods due to inflation in a worrying sign for Democrats ahead of the midterm election.
Conducted last week, the poll showed that 73 percent are “very” concerned and 22 percent are “somewhat” concerned about the rise in prices, while a combined 93 percent are “very” or “somewhat” concerned by the rise in gasoline. Another 87 percent were similarly concerned about the rise in housing costs, and 70 percent were concerned about “how the stock market is doing,” the Pew poll shows.
“The survey finds that inflation remains the dominant economic concern for Americans,” Pew pollsters wrote. “In fact, the three top concerns, among seven items included, relate to prices—for food and consumer goods (73 percent are very concerned about this), gasoline and energy (69 percent), and the cost of housing (60 percent).”
Since President Joe Biden took office, inflation has been steadily rising, with the consumer price index hitting 8.2 percent year-over-year in September. While Biden and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen have often predicted inflation would level out and decrease, it hasn’t.
Gas prices, meanwhile, have dropped more than $1 on average since reaching all-time highs in June, according to AAA data, but the drop has coincided with Biden’s release of oil from the U.S. Strategic Reserve. The oil-producing nations of OPEC+ several weeks ago announced they would slash oil production in what many saw as a blow to Biden’s prospects and would create more pain at the pump in the long term.
The poll was conducted fewer than three weeks to go before the November 2022 midterms, where Republicans are predicted to at least retake the House.
Some Democratic strategists and pollsters say that the party’s lack of focus on dealing with inflation will likely harm candidates’ prospects in November’s General Election.
“A month ago, it looked like not only were the Democrats poised to hold the Senate, the question was: were they going to be able to get, you know, two extra seats?” Fernand Amandi, a Democrat pollster who worked on Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns, told The Hill this week. “Now, I think the hope is just to hang on.”
“Inflation never should have been downplayed,” Mike Lux, a Democrat strategist, told the outlet, adding that lower-income Americans are getting hammered by high prices.
“Working-class folks are getting hit hard by inflation,” he said, “and we need to make clear that we understand what is going on, we know that people are having a tough time and we are with them in this fight.”