January 28, 2022

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Fox Business Poll: Voters think Biden is making inflation worse

Voters are worried about inflation — and they think the White House is making it worse. 

A new Fox Business poll finds that when it comes to rising prices, twice as many think the Biden administration’s actions are hurting rather than helping.

In addition, by a 25-point margin, voters believe President Biden’s proposed social spending plan would push inflation higher and by 6 points they think it would hurt the economy. 

“One thing the president has going for him is low expectations,” says Democratic pollster Chris Anderson, who along with Republican counterpart Daron Shaw, conducts Fox polls. “If the spending plans start to have positive impacts in people’s lives, maybe some will reconsider their view of Biden.”

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About 4 in 10 say inflation is the biggest issue facing the economy.  That’s more than double the number who say the deficit or income inequality.  Fewer than 1 in 10 say supply chain issues, labor shortages, government regulations, or big tech monopolies.

Two-thirds think Biden’s leadership is at least somewhat responsible for inflation — and about the same number blame regular economic cycles.  Larger and roughly equivalent majorities blame the pandemic, government spending and regulations, and company price gouging. 

The new survey, released Wednesday, finds that rising prices over the last six months have caused financial hardship for two-thirds of voters.  That climbs to three-quarters among those living in lower-income households. 

More than 8 in 10 are extremely or very concerned about inflation.  That’s more than are worried about higher U.S. crime rates (77 percent), their taxes (71 percent), the federal deficit (69 percent), the pandemic (68 percent), being able to pay their bills (63 percent), and neighborhood crime (48 percent).  

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By more than two-to-one, people say the president’s economic policies have hurt rather than helped them personally.  That’s largely driven by almost two-thirds of Republicans saying they’ve been hurt — nearly five times the number of Democrats who say the same.  For comparison, one-third of Democrats said they had been hurt by former President Donald Trump’s economic policies in a December 2018 Fox News survey.

Just 1 in 6 voters say they are better off financially than they were a year ago, and a majority rates their personal financial situation negatively.  That’s a reversal since August, when over half said their finances were in positive shape.

Three quarters rate the national economy negatively — and nearly half think things will get worse in the coming year. 

Only 1 in 4 are optimistic the economy will get better in 2022.

That’s how the president’s ratings on the economy end up underwater by 21 points, down from +6 in April.

Approval of the president’s performance is below 40 percent on every issue tested, with one exception: just under half approve on coronavirus.  Roughly 6 in 10 disapprove on the economy, crime, government spending, immigration, and taxes.

Biden’s overall job rating is upside-down by 4 points:  47 percent approve and 51 percent disapprove.  That’s a bit of an improvement since last month, when it was 44-54 percent.  His highest, 56-43 percent, came in June. 

The numbers are worse when voters are asked how things are going in the country, as two-thirds are dissatisfied.  That means dissatisfaction is up 12 points since Biden’s 100-day mark in April.

“Given where his ratings have been recently, I’m sure White House advisors would be pleased with an overall approval in the high 40s,” says Shaw. “But the specific policy ratings suggest the issue environment remains toxic, and that severely limits the potential for improvement in Biden’s standing moving forward.” 

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Poll-pourri

— Almost 6 in 10 disapprove of both Democrats and Republicans in Congress.  When asked their preference in the 2022 congressional election, if they were voting today, more would back the Republican candidate in their district over the Democrat by 4 points. 

— One-third blame current labor shortages on expanded government unemployment benefits and stimulus checks. After that, they see COVID health concerns, low wages, vaccine mandates, and changing lifestyles as reasons for a lack of workers to fill open jobs.

— By a 26-point margin, more Democrats than Republicans say the economy is in excellent/good shape.  There’s a smaller partisan gap on their personal financial situation, with Democrats being just 9 points more likely to rate their situation positively. 

CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL FOX NEWS POLL RESULTS

 — Among Democrats, the pandemic is the biggest concern, narrowly edging out inflation, followed by crime rates.  For Republicans, the top three worries are inflation, crime rates, and taxes.  The pandemic comes in next to last on the GOP list, above neighborhood crime.

— More than 6 in 10 are worried about being able to pay their bills, up 5 points since April. Concern is 30 points higher among those living in households earning less than $50,000 annually compared to those with higher incomes.  That’s twice what the difference was between those groups in April. 

— Views among independents are somewhat grim: 1 in 10 independents say they are better off financially than they were a year ago and 1 in 5 expects the economy will be better next year. 

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Conducted December 11-14, 2021 by Fox News under the joint direction of Beacon Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R), this poll includes interviews among 1,002 registered voters nationwide randomly selected from a national voter file and spoke with live interviewers on both landlines and cellphones. The total sample has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points. 

Fox News’ Victoria Balara contributed to this report.