Biden Hit on Economy as More Say Finances Poor: AP-NORC Poll

October 12, 2022by Josh Boak and Emily Swanson, Associated Press
Biden Hit on Economy as More Say Finances Poor: AP-NORC Poll
President Joe Biden talks to reporters before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON (AP) — More U.S. adults are now feeling financially vulnerable amid high inflation — a political risk for President Joe Biden and his fellow Democrats one month before the midterm elections.

Some 46% of people now call their personal financial situation poor, up from 37% in March, according to a new poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. That’s a notable downturn at a particularly inopportune moment for Biden, given that the share of Americans who felt positive about their finances had stayed rock steady over the last few years — even during the economic turmoil of the COVID-19 pandemic.

And while a majority of Americans see high prices as beyond Biden’s control, they continue to disapprove of his handling of the economy overall.

Overall, 54% say their finances are good in the latest survey. That figure was at least 62% through the global recession caused by the pandemic in 2020, and even in late 2021 and early 2022 as prices began to rise across the country. But inflation’s prolonged bite has left the U.S. and wider world facing the possibility of a downturn and, despite solid job growth, more consumers are feeling the pain.

In Salado, Texas, Bethany Saunders saw the rate she paid for electricity double in August, and her water bill jumped as well as she dealt with a summer heat and drought. Her utilities bills totaled $800, a shock to the 43-year-old, who had carefully budgeted after going without a pay raise for two years.

“That just drained my bank account — I’m not rich, but I knew what I could live on,” said Saunders, who voted Republican in 2020 and plans to do so again this year.

Overall, views of Biden and of the direction of the country held steady in October, after improving somewhat in September. Forty-three percent say they approve of how Biden is handling his job as president, while 25% say the country is headed in the right direction. Biden’s approval rating had dropped as low as 36% in a July AP-NORC poll, and the percentage saying the country is headed in the right direction dropped as low as 14% in June.

The president has been steadfast in saying he believes the economy can escape a recession, and he said in an interview broadcast Tuesday by CNN that any potential downturn would be modest.

“I don’t think there will be a recession,” Biden told CNN’s Jake Tapper. “If it is, it’ll be a very slight recession. That is, we’ll move down slightly.”

Saunders doesn’t think Biden is entirely to blame for her higher bills, but she said h is $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package from last year with its direct payments to Americans was excessive. Some leading economists say the money helped ignite inflation that reached a 40-year peak in June. The government will release an inflation report on Thursday, and economists expect it to show that prices rose 8.1% in September from a year ago.

“I see him throwing money at things we don’t need,” Saunders said of Biden. “It makes me think of the Oprah episode that became famous. ‘You get a car, you get a car, you get a car.’”

The drop in financial well-being was especially acute among Americans in households making less than $50,000 a year, just 33% of whom now call their personal finances good compared with 50% in March. Sixty-one percent of those in household making between $50,000 and $100,000 call their personal finances good, as do 75% of those making more than that — both down only slightly since earlier in the year.

In the latest poll, 23% call the national economy good. That’s similar to the percentage in June but down slightly from 29% in September, when views of the national economy had shown signs of improvement. The drop since September came primarily among Democrats, from 46% then to 35% now. In September, Democrats had appeared increasingly optimistic about the economy compared with earlier in the summer.

Sandra Baker, 56, said she voted for Biden and intends to support Democrats in this year’s elections. The Lincoln, Nebraska resident said the president is trying his best to fix the economy and address political divides.

“He’s doing all he can do, but everything else is so screwed up it doesn’t really matter,” Baker said. “The general vibe — everything the Democrats do — seems to be toward helping the little man and it’s always been like that.”

But the economy has proved a challenge — with gasoline costs becoming a renewed source of financial pressure. The average price at the pump was $3.92 a gallon on Wednesday, up roughly 5.5% from a month ago, according to AAA. Support for Biden had picked up after a 99-day drop in gas prices from a June high that ended in September.

Views of Biden’s handling of the economy remain underwater. Only 36% say they approve and 63% disapprove. But Americans aren’t heaping all the blame for inflation at Biden’s feet: 55% say higher than usual prices are mostly because of factors outside Biden’s control, while 44% say that’s happening mostly because of Biden’s policies.

The president has blamed rising energy and food prices on Russia’s February invasion of Ukraine. He’s also blasted oil companies and refineries for raking in profits off the higher prices, instead of doing more to increase production. Saudi Arabia and other countries tied to OPEC dealt the U.S. a further blow last week by announcing plans to cut oil production by 2 million barrels a day in response to the slowing economy, a move that the administration said would support oil exporters such as Russia.

There are bright spots in the poll for Biden — 55% say they approve of how he’s handling the coronavirus pandemic, long one of his strongest issues, and 63% approve of his handling of natural disaster relief following Hurricane Ian, which battered Florida two weeks ago. On the other hand, just 39% approve of how Biden is handling immigration.

___

The poll of 1,121 adults was conducted Oct. 6-10 using a sample drawn from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak Panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.

A+
a-
  • inflation
  • Joe Biden
  • In The News

    Health

    Voting

    Opinion Polls

    More Global Confidence in Biden Than Trump Even as Views of US Democracy Decline, Poll Finds

    People in 34 countries around the world have more confidence in President Joe Biden than his challenger in November's election, former President Donald... Read More

    People in 34 countries around the world have more confidence in President Joe Biden than his challenger in November's election, former President Donald Trump, even as there is increased skepticism that United States democracy provides a good model for the rest of the world to follow, according to a... Read More

    May 28, 2024
    by Dan McCue
    NewDEAL Poll Finds Voters Overwhelmingly Want Leaders to Work Together

    WASHINGTON — Voters overwhelmingly want elected officials, regardless of party, to work together to solve the nation’s problems, according to... Read More

    WASHINGTON — Voters overwhelmingly want elected officials, regardless of party, to work together to solve the nation’s problems, according to a poll from the NewDEAL, a national network of pro-growth, progressive Democrats. The survey, conducted last month by Mercury Analytics, found that 79% of respondents in... Read More

    About Four in 10 Americans See China as an Enemy, a Pew Report Shows. That's a Five-Year High

    WASHINGTON (AP) — About four in 10 Americans now label China as an enemy, up from a quarter two years... Read More

    WASHINGTON (AP) — About four in 10 Americans now label China as an enemy, up from a quarter two years ago and reaching the highest level in five years, according to an annual Pew Research Center survey released Wednesday. Half of Americans think of China as... Read More

    Climate Change Concerns Grow, but Few Think Biden's Climate Law Will Help, an AP-NORC Poll Finds

    Like many Americans, Ron Theusch is getting more worried about climate change. A resident of Alden, Minnesota, Theusch has noticed increasingly... Read More

    Like many Americans, Ron Theusch is getting more worried about climate change. A resident of Alden, Minnesota, Theusch has noticed increasingly dry and mild winters punctuated by short periods of severe cold — symptoms of a warming planet. As he thinks about that, future generations are on his... Read More

    Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in US More Likely to Believe in Climate Change: AP-NORC Poll

    Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in the United States are more likely than the overall adult population to... Read More

    Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in the United States are more likely than the overall adult population to believe in human-caused climate change, according to a new poll. It also suggests that partisanship may not have as much of an impact on this group's environmental... Read More

    Are Americans Feeling Like They Get Enough Sleep? Dream On, a New Gallup Poll Says

    NEW YORK (AP) — If you're feeling — YAWN — sleepy or tired while you read this and wish you... Read More

    NEW YORK (AP) — If you're feeling — YAWN — sleepy or tired while you read this and wish you could get some more shut-eye, you're not alone. A majority of Americans say they would feel better if they could have more sleep, according to a... Read More

    News From The Well
    scroll top