Voters in seven swing states are feeling the pain of rising prices for household essentials, according to a Bloomberg News and Morning Consult poll that points to trouble for President Joe Biden’s effort to make the economy a centerpiece of his bid for a second term.
(Bloomberg) — Voters in seven swing states are feeling the pain of rising prices for household essentials, according to a Bloomberg News and Morning Consult poll that points to trouble for President Joe Biden’s effort to make the economy a centerpiece of his bid for a second term.
Three in four swing-state respondents said that prices have increased in the past month, in line with consumer price data showing that inflation rose 0.4% in September from the previous month. Prices are up 3.7% over the past year, though that’s less than half the pace of the pandemic-era highs.
The Bloomberg News/Morning Consult poll found that when it came to handling the cost of everyday goods and services, voters trusted Republican frontrunner Donald Trump over Biden by a margin of 12 percentage points. The gap was even wider for independents, whose votes are crucial to clinching an election.
“Everything is colored by the higher cost of living,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, who found that the typical American household spends about $730 a month more than last year. “It’s as simple as that. People are spending a lot more on everything — especially food, gas and rent — than they were a year ago.”
Read More: Trump Leads Biden in Key States as Voters Fret About the Economy
Taken together, the results provide the clearest indication yet of just how much the pain of inflation poses a risk to Biden’s reelection hopes and overshadows gains elsewhere in the economy, including a tight labor market, higher household income and steady corporate investment.
Overall, Trump leads Biden 47% to 43% among voters in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, according to the poll. The results across those seven states had a margin of error of 1 percentage point.
Trump was trusted more on the economy by 49% of swing-state voters surveyed, compared to 35% for Biden, while half of the respondents said the president’s economic package dubbed “Bidenomics” is bad for the country. Respondents also said they put more faith in Trump than Biden on other economic issues, including the stock market, interest rates and taxes.
The poll results are particularly striking because recent economic data shows strength, with a solid labor market and resilient consumers fueling factories and company spending. A particular spot of bad news for Biden in the poll was that the labor market didn’t factor high as a priority, with only 17% of people surveyed picking “availability of good jobs” as one of the most important factors for their vote.
About four in five women, a key voting demographic, said that the economy is on the wrong track. Other groups least satisfied with the economy include non-union households, blue-collar workers and non-college educated voters.
“What’s really going to impact votes is what’s impacting their day tomorrow,” said Caroline Bye, a pollster and vice president at Morning Consult. “And if the cost of groceries is still high, that’s going to overweigh whether or not they’re getting a new bridge in their town tomorrow or in the next two years.”
The swing-state voters surveyed also greeted the administration’s infrastructure and green energy push with skepticism or indifference. Most respondents didn’t support the federal government taking a “major role” in funding the semiconductor industry, electric vehicles and battery production.
One group that was more positive on the economy are Black Americans. About 43% said the economy was going in the right direction, the second-highest among groups, and more than half said their personal finances were in better shape under the current administration than under Trump. That’s compared to just 23% among Whites.
Analysts also see a brighter economic future. Increasingly, Wall Street economists say a recession is probably no longer in the cards, and consumer prices are set to decelerate over the next 12 months as the Federal Reserve holds interest rates higher for longer.
–With assistance from Reade Pickert, Gregory Korte and Alex Tanzi.
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