Inflation, economy are top of mind for US voters in midterm poll

Published Mon, Oct 31, 2022 · 06:58 AM

INFLATION and the economy are top-of-mind for US voters heading into the midterm elections, with a majority of registered Republicans prioritising economic issues, according to an ABC News/Ipsos poll.

The numbers, which are in line with similar surveys in recent weeks, “may be welcome news for Republicans as we close in on the midterms”, Ipsos said in a summary of the poll. President Joe Biden’s Democrats are defending an evenly split US Senate and a tight edge in the House in the Nov 8 election.

A combined 50 per cent of registered voters listed economic issues as their single most important issue, with 28 per cent citing the economy and 22 per cent naming inflation - with 73 per cent of Republicans naming one of the two as their top concern. Among registered Democrats, abortion rights led the list with 29 per cent, essentially tied with the 28 per cent who said the economy or inflation.

Half of independent voters also cited the economy or inflation as their most important issue, according to Ipsos. The Oct 28-29 poll of 621 registered voters has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.

Republicans are blaming Biden and the Democrats for inflation that has reached four-decade highs this year as well as elevated petrol prices and crime. Biden’s administration is campaigning on a resilient labour market, economic growth that revived in the third quarter and defending abortion rights.

Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said inflation and a resulting squeeze in purchasing power “has been caused by Democrats pumping so much money into this economy”. Voters will “hold them accountable for this economy, which is a failing economy”, she said on Fox News Sunday.

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Senator Chris Coons, a Delaware Democrat who is close to Biden, told the same show that Biden is running on his legislative record, including infrastructure investment, boosting US semiconductor production and measures to ease medical costs.

“You didn’t hear a detailed plan for how Republicans would fight inflation, would bring gas prices down, would make our country stronger,” he said on Fox News Sunday in response to McDaniel’s comments.

With campaigning in the final stretch and millions of voters casting early ballots, Biden as well as former presidents Donald Trump and Barack Obama have been fanning out across the country to mobilise voters.

Republicans are in a good position to win a majority of seats in the House, though anything from a sizable GOP majority to a bare Democratic one remain possible, according to a CBS News battleground tracker poll published Sunday (Oct 30).

About eight in 10 likely voters in that survey said they feel things in the US today are “out of control”. BLOOMBERG

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