Economic system, inflation high the agenda for mid-term voters giving GOP a slight benefit in new Monmouth ballot

A woman votes in a voting booth on May 17, 2022 in Norwood, North Carolina, USA. North Carolina is one of several states that hold midterm elections.

Sean Rayford | Getty Images

Economic issues like inflation top the list of midterm voters a month before Election Day, giving Republicans a slight advantage over Democrats in a new poll released Monday by Monmouth University.

For the first time since the Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health decision overturned constitutional abortion rights, a majority of voters polled by Monmouth say they think Republicans should take back control of Congress.

The poll found that 47% of voters want or prefer Republicans to control Congress, compared to 44% who want or prefer Democrats. It’s a 4 percentage point gain for Republicans from 43% in August and a 6 percentage point loss for Democrats from 50% a month ago.

The poll was conducted September 21-25 and has an error rate of 3.5 percentage points.

While Democrats are concerned with a variety of issues, from climate change to abortion, and Republicans are concerned with inflation and immigration, the survey found that independent voters are primarily concerned about rising prices.

Overall, 82% of Americans ranked inflation as an extremely or very important issue, compared to 56% who ranked abortion as their top concern and 32% who said the coronavirus pandemic was a major concern. More broadly, for 54% to 38% of Americans, concerns about the economy and the cost of living outweigh concerns about the loss of basic rights or threats to democracy.

“Democrats are everywhere when it comes to their core issues. That makes it difficult for the party to develop a coherent messaging strategy to motivate its base. Republicans, on the other hand, only need to hammer on rising prices and ‘the wolf is coming’ to piss off their voters,” said Patrick Murray, director of Monmouth University’s polling institute. “A big problem for Democrats is that their grassroots news isn’t as appealing to independents as the GOP issue agenda.”

Independents in particular are more than twice as likely to prioritize economic issues over threats to human rights and democracy, 61% versus 29%.

Additionally, only 30% of voters approve of President Joe Biden’s handling of inflation. He also received low marks on abortion (31%) and immigration (also 31%).

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