With roughly seven months until the midterm election, Americans believe economic issues are the most important problem the country faces. Recent polling from Gallup shows that economic confidence continues to decline because of persistent inflation.
The Gallup Economic Confidence Index (ECI) combines the overall ratings of the nation’s economy with views on whether the economy is on track to improve or not. The ECI is measured on a scale from -100 to 100. The latest rating, a -39, is the lowest point seen since October 2013, the 5th year of the Obama Administration. Prior to COVID-19, Republican leadership had caused ECI to trend upward, reaching +40 in early 2020, but after COVID hit, bottoming out in May 2020 at -33. The early months of the Biden Administration saw the ECI rise from -21 to +2, but as inflation took hold and Americans began feeling its tangible effects in July 2021, ECI started falling and has been trending down since.
Nearly four of every 10 Americans cite economic issues as the most important facing the nation today. Cost of living (17%), the economy in general (12%), and fuel prices (6%) are among the top issues. Among non-economic problems, 20% of Americans say the top issue facing the country is the government and poor leadership.
It’s clear the economy will remain a big issue for Democrats in November as voters hold them responsible for the Biden Administration’s response to current economic conditions. Republicans have a winning message but the size of the GOP’s victory depends on the capacity of the party’s candidates to help voters understand that Democrats are responsible for the problems they face in feeding their families, gassing up their cars, and meeting their expenses every day and that Republicans have the right answer – stop spending money we don’t have.