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Tuesday, June 25, 2024 | Back issues
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Inflation fears send Biden approval rating to new low

Anxiety over wages and widespread labor shortages has Americans looking at the current state of the economy with a wary eye.

(CN) — President Joe Biden’s approval rating has hit an all-time low as more Americans say they’ve grown increasingly concerned with rising inflation across the country.

As Democrats begin to prepare to defend their slim majorities in Congress in next year’s midterms, the state of the American economy is – as is quite often the case – gearing up to play a huge role in the minds of voters.

But a new NPR/Marist poll released Wednesday reveals Americans have a laundry list of economic fears heading into the new year that have caused Biden's approval rating to tank.

According to the poll, just 42% of Americans give Biden a positive approval rating as he wraps up his first year in office, a 12-point drop for the president since this spring. Wednedsay’s rating marks the lowest approval number recorded for Biden in the NPR/Marist survey.

While 81% of Democrats give the president a favorable score, other voting blocs are less enthusiastic. Less than half of independents (44%) say they approve of the president’s job and just 3% of Republicans say the same.  

An equal share of voters approve of Biden’s job as it relates to managing the economy, and it’s here where Americans voice some heavy fears.

When asked what their top economic fears are, inflation took the top spot with nearly 40% of Americans listing it as their gravest concern. Another 18% listed wages as their biggest issue, while 11% cited labor shortages. Rising housing costs, unemployment and gas prices rounded out the top of the list, with each tied at 9%.

"Regardless of strong job numbers or the soaring stock market, Americans are worried about the economy and the reason is inflation," Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion, said with the release of the poll.

These fears also appear to be drawn along party lines. Republicans and independents called inflation their biggest economic anxiety, while Democrats say the issue of wages makes them restless.

The poll reports that despite these economic worries, most Americans don’t actually believe they'll be affected. Nearly 60% of Americans said they don’t plan on making any major changes to their spending habits or investment strategies next year. Another 22% say they anticipate an increase in their spending, and 18% say they foresee some reductions.  

Biden’s sinking approval rating and economic concerns among voters could prove detrimental to Democrats as they head into next year’s elections, already an uphill battle for them given the historical trend of parties in power underperforming during a president’s first midterm bout. Republicans are already favored by some to take control of at least one chamber of Congress, with a recent Quinnipiac University poll finding more Americans want the GOP in control of both the House and Senate.

On this front, however, Democrats have some hope to cling to. While Wednesday’s poll reports that Republicans have a small edge regarding which party Americans think can better manage the economy, 46% of them would still prefer to have the Democrats keep control of Congress. Just 41% say they would rather see the GOP take the win.

In general, Americans don’t have many kind things to say regarding either party’s ability to get anything done. While there’s been lengthy discussion about Democrats’ struggle to unite behind Biden’s legislative agenda, most Americans blame the gridlock on both parties. About two-thirds of Americans — including a majority of Republicans — say Washington’s slow progress is a direct result of Democrats and Republicans refusing to work together.

Wednesday’s poll of 1,048 adults contains a margin of error of plus or minus 4.2%.

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