Democrats and Independents Have Increasingly Bleak Expectations for the Economy

53% of voters overall expect the U.S. economy to be worse a year from now, an increase of 6 percentage points from a year ago
October 19, 2022 at 6:00 am UTC

Amid stubborn inflation and debate over whether central bank policy will lead to a recession, a new Morning Consult/Politico survey finds that a growing share of voters over the past year — especially Democrats and independents — think the U.S. economy will be worse off 12 months from now, with a notable portion of that uptick occurring in just the last two months. 

More Than Half of Voters Believe the Economy Will Be Worse a Year From Now

Share of registered voters who say they believe the economy will worsen in the next year
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Surveys conducted Oct. 16-18, 2021, and Oct. 14-16, 2022, among representative samples of about 2,000 registered voters each, with unweighted margins of error of +/-2 percentage points.

Apprehension over the economy continues to grow among Democrats, independents 

  • While Republicans’ economic outlook was relatively unchanged over the past year, the share of Democrats and independents who said the economy will be worse in a year increased by 10 and 7 percentage points, respectively.  
  • Those voters’ souring outlooks were already starting to shift in August, when 29% of Democrats and 51% of independents said they expected the economy to worsen over the next year. In the Aug. 19-21 Morning Consult/Politico survey, 69% of Republicans said the same.   
  • Negative expectations among voters of all stripes have increased since July 2021, when 17% of Democrats, 61% of Republicans and 38% of both independents and voters overall said they thought the economy would worsen.
  • Roughly 3 in 5 voters said in the most recent survey that they think inflation in the U.S. economy is getting worse, including 78% of Republicans, 63% of independents and 41% of Democrats. 

Democrats can’t escape voters’ fear of rising prices and the specter of a recession 

As central banks dig in their heels on plans to continue raising interest rates, the outlook of economists and chief executives has tipped in favor of the likelihood of a recession — and along with it, job losses. 

Reactions to the Federal Reserve’s policy plans have divided Washington, eliciting support from Republicans and mixed reactions from Democrats and independents. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that the Fed’s rate strategy is the wrong move. “I think they’re hurting the situation. It is wrong to be saying that the way we’re going to deal with inflation is by lowering wages and increasing unemployment,” he said.

The stream of dour economic predictions in the headlines, along with gas prices inching back up ahead of winter, likely has Democrats sweating ahead of the November midterm elections. The Biden administration is pulling out all of its tools to tamp down rising gas prices for consumers, including an expected release of additional oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, and even the threat of classifying the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries as a cartel in the United States, subjecting its members to antitrust rules

Not everyone has a grim view of the future, however. Bank of America Corp. Chief Executive Brian Moynihan said during the company’s recent earnings call that its customers’ account balances were higher than pre-pandemic levels, and noted that the bank isn’t seeing a slowdown in consumer spending.

And despite Jamie Dimon’s predictions that the country would see a recession in the next year, when asked during JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s earnings call if the bank planned to slow down hiring plans, the CEO simply replied, “No.” 

The latest Morning Consult/Politico survey was conducted Oct. 14-16, 2022, among a representative sample of 2,005 registered voters, with an unweighted margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

Amanda Jacobson Snyder previously worked at Morning Consult as a data reporter covering finance.

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