More Than 8 In 10 Americans Hurt By Inflation, Economy Most Important Issue: Poll
A gas station in Los Angeles shows the price of a gallon of gasoline on March 18, 2022.
CHRIS DELMAS/AFP via Getty Images

More than 8 in 10 people in the United States are facing hardships over inflation, according to a new poll.

The poll of more than 1000 registered voters, conducted between March 18-20 by Emerson College, also found that a plurality of voters blame the Biden administration for soaring gas prices and think the economy, including inflation, is the most pressing issue in the country right now. A majority of voters also believed the Biden administration should prioritize domestic issues like the economy over concerns about the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

On inflation and price hikes, the poll asked voters, “have increased prices of everyday items caused you or your household any hardship this month?” More than 8 in 10 respondents, 83% said yes; 40% said price increases have caused them significant hardship, and another 43% said they were facing some hardship. Voters were also asked about the recent surge in gas prices and who they blamed for it. Nearly 4 in 10 voters, 39%, blamed rising gas prices on the Biden administration. Another 21% of voters blamed the price hikes on gas and oil sanctions placed by the Biden administration and Western allies against Russia. About 18% of voters blamed them on oil and gas companies, and 8.5% blamed them on COVID-19.

Voters were also asked what they believed the most important issue facing the country was. A plurality of voters, 36.6% said the economy was the most important issue. Another 14% of voters said healthcare was most important, and 12% said the war between Russia and Ukraine. None of the other issues listed, including education, crime, COVID-19, or immigration, reached double digits in terms of priority.

On the issue of COVID-19 specifically, voters were asked, “how much of a threat to public health in the United States do you believe Coronavirus is?” Fewer than 1 in 4 voters, just 23.7%, said COVID-19 was a major threat. The plurality of voters, 36.7%, said the pandemic was a moderate public health threat; about 25% of voters said it was a minor threat, and about 14% said it was not a threat.

On the Russian invasion of Ukraine, voters were asked to react to the news that President Joe Biden was going to attend the NATO summit this week. A majority of voters, fully 59%, agreed that Biden should attend the summit; just 20% said he should not, and 21% were unsure or had no opinion.

Voters were also concerned about the potential for a nuclear conflict: 33% were very concerned, and 47% were somewhat concerned. A clear majority, 69%, supported the idea of the U.S. accepting refugees from Ukraine, while just 16% said the U.S. should not accept Ukrainian refugees. However, voters still believed that Biden should focus on domestic issues over the Russian invasion. A majority, 51% said Biden should focus on domestic issues, while 35% said he should focus on Ukraine. 14% had no opinion.

The poll found that Biden had a 42.7% approval rating, with a 48.6% disapproval rating, but also found that Republicans and former President Donald Trump had slight advantages in the 2022 and 2024 elections. Republicans held a 5-point advantage in the generic 2022 Congressional ballot, 47%-42%, the poll found. Trump, meanwhile, had a double-digit favorability rating over Biden, 59%-47%, and in a hypothetical 2024 Presidential matchup, Trump held a 3-point advantage over Biden, 45%-42%.

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