Warning Sign for Democrats: Voters Across Parties Expect a Worsening Economy in the Next Year

And about 3 in 5 voters hold the Biden administration’s policies responsible for rising inflation
President Joe Biden delivers remarks at the White House on Oct. 18, 2021, in Washington, D.C. A Morning Consult/Politico poll found that 62 percent of voters hold the Biden administration’s policies responsible for increasing inflation in the U.S. economy. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
October 20, 2021 at 6:00 am UTC

The economy  — once thought to be Democrats’ winning argument in the 2022 midterms — is starting to bite back. After inflation recently matched a 13-year high, stoking fears across of 1970s-style price increases, voters across the political spectrum are increasingly pessimistic about the economy, per new Morning Consult/Politico polling

What the numbers say:

  • Voters are 11 points more likely to say the economy will worsen in the next year compared to what they said in a July survey, spelling more trouble for Democrats on the issue.
  • Independents and Republicans saw the steepest increase, at 11 points apiece, hinting at a tough time for Democrats in the midterms if up-for-grabs voters have a negative economic outlook in their minds when casting ballots. 
  • Even among Democrats, the share that expects a worsening economy ticked up 6 points over the past three months. 
  • Among all voters, 33 percent said they think the economy will get better in the next year, a 7-point decline from July. The share expecting no change remained virtually unchanged, at 13 percent.

Overall, voters are more likely to blame the policies of President Joe Biden’s administration for inflation, compared to America’s return to pre-pandemic behaviors. The share of the former however, remains largely unchanged from roughly three months ago. 

What the numbers say:

  • Sixty-two percent of voters blame the Biden administration’s policies for rising inflation, an increase of 3 percentage points from late July, when Morning Consult and Politico last polled on the question. Slight increases in the shares of Republicans (85 percent) and independents (61 percent) who hold the administration responsible fueled the uptick.
  • About half of voters (48 percent) believe Americans’ return to pre-pandemic behaviors has contributed to the 13-year high in inflation, a 5-point decline from July. 
  • The share of Democrats who believe a return to normal is to blame for rising prices slid 9 points over the past three months, to 60 percent in the latest survey. Meanwhile, 41 percent of the party’s voters pointed fingers at Biden’s policies for inflation, a figure unchanged over the same time period.

The surveys were conducted Oct. 16-18, 2021, and July 23-26, 2021, among about 2,000 registered voters each, both with margins of error of 2 percentage points.

Claire Williams previously worked at Morning Consult as a reporter covering finances.

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