By Katherine Huggins
The No. 1 issue that Americans want the federal government to tackle is inflation, and they give President Joe Biden his lowest marks for that priority, according to a Monmouth University poll released Monday.
The poll found 82% of Americans say addressing inflation is either “extremely” or “very important,” and only 30% of those surveyed approved of his handling of it, while 66% disapproved.
Conservatives were the most likely to deem inflation to be “extremely” or “very important” (91%), though 82% of moderates and 68% of liberals listed it as a top priority as well. Outside of ideological lines, the demographic that deemed inflation an “extremely important” issue for the federal government to handle were those with children in the home (46% vs. 33% of those without kids in the home).
Inflation has jumped 8.3% in the past year, the fastest increase since the early 1980s, and has been a major campaign talking point.
Inflation was the most frequently cited issue in campaign ads in August, according to an NBC News analysis. And between January and late July, Republicans nationwide spent more than $40 million on TV ads that mentioned inflation compared to $4.4 million by Democrats.
After inflation, the Monmouth poll found that Americans ranked crime, elections and voting, and jobs and unemployment as their top priorities.
The one area in which Biden received a positive approval rating was COVID-19, with 50% approving of his handling of the pandemic and 47% disapproving. However, COVID is one of the least important issues right now, with only 32% of those surveyed saying federal action on the pandemic is “extremely” or “very important.” Student-loan debt is also not seen as crucial, with 31% deeming it as highly important.
“I’m telling the American people that we’re going to get control of inflation,” Biden said during a “60 Minutes” interview that aired Sept. 18. He said he is hopeful that the Federal Reserve will achieve a “soft landing” and avoid a recession, but whether that will happen remains to be seen.
From MarketWatch’s archives (May 2022): As Biden fights inflation, economists warn his weapons for this battle look ‘extremely limited’
The Monmouth University poll surveyed 806 adults between Sept. 21 and 25, and has a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.