(The Center Square) – Voters have their eyes on their bottom line ahead of the 2024 election.
Voters are more concerned about inflation now than they were over the summer, even though most metrics for inflation have eased.
Inflation peaked at 9.1% in June 2022 and stood at 3.7% in September 2023. The inflation rate remains above the Fed’s 2% target. Still, it remains the top issue among voters and is certain to shape the 2024 presidential race.
“Inflation makes people miserable, and it’s a key weakness for [President Joe] Biden,” said David Byler, chief of research at Noble Predictive Insights. “But voters tend to judge presidents on short term economic trends. If the economy feels better to them by this time next year, that will help Biden hugely. But if people keep feeling the pain of high prices, he could be in real trouble.”
Inflation has squeezed the budgets of American families as prices for food, fuel, housing and other staples have increased.
The Center Square Voters’ Voice Poll, conducted in conjunction with Noble Predictive Insights, found that 48% of registered voters picked inflation as the top issue from a list of 18. That was followed by illegal immigration (33%), crime/violence (28%) and economy/jobs (24%).
Those numbers are similar to what The Center Square Voters’ Voice Poll found in a summer poll conducted July 31-Aug. 3. In that case, inflation topped the list with (44%), followed by crime/violence (27%) and illegal immigration (25%). The polling shows voters concerns about those issues have grown since then, with worries about illegal immigration overtaking crime/violence.
“Inflation might be slowing down but that doesn’t mean prices have decreased,” Byler said. “If people still feel like they’re paying too much for essentials like groceries or gas, then they’re going to be unhappy about the economy. And when they take a poll, they’re going to mark inflation as a key pain point.”
The poll of 2,605 voters included 1,035 Republicans, 1,074 Democrats, and 496 true Independents, among the most comprehensive in the country.
The poll also showed that 95% of registered voters said they have seen prices increase over the last few years with 5% saying they have seen no change.
Among those who reported seeing price increases, 96% said the cost of groceries had increased and 82% said the cost of gasoline had increased. Another 74% said their utility bills had increased.
The poll was conducted by Noble Predictive Insights from Oct. 20-26 with a margin of error of 1.92%.