After over a year of inflation driving up the overall cost of living, a new survey from Gallup shows a significant majority of Americans, including many at middle- and upper-income levels, are experiencing financial hardship.
The survey shows from Nov. 2021 to Aug. 2022, the number of Americans reporting severe/moderate to severe financial hardship has risen from 55% to 68%. Lower income Americans have continued to suffer the most hardship, with 74% reporting financial difficulty because of inflation – a net increase of 4% since last year. The average American middle-class family has seen the greatest increase since Nov. 2021 as the number of middle-income Americans reporting hardship increased by 17%, rising from 46% to 63%. Even among upper income Americans, the number reporting hardship has increased from 28% to 40%, a jump of 12%.
When split by political ideology, an interesting trend emerged as well. Sixty-seven percent of Republicans are more likely to report hardships due to inflation, compared to 44% of Democrats. While many may speculate that conservative base messaging is needed to rally Republicans, this suggests that messaging on the economy can also be an effective base-turnout driver. Additionally, 56% of those who describe themselves as independent report rising prices hurting their families.
Last week’s speech by President Biden shows the White House believes the best way to reduce or avoid a GOP wave is by framing the election as a contest between democracy and extremism with Republicans as the threat to the nation’s continued existence. Republicans should not take the bait, and instead argue that Democratic leadership has driven a majority of Americans into financial hardship as inflation drives up prices faster than paychecks.