COVID-19 becomes dominant political issue as Americans focus on inflation and economy: Reuters / Ipsos poll
NEW YORK, Nov. 4 (Reuters) – Americans are increasingly turning away from the coronavirus and focusing their attention elsewhere, particularly on rising consumer prices and other economic areas where Democrats are less reliable, shows a Reuters / Ipsos poll, a change that could favor Republicans in next year’s midterm election.
As COVID-19 continues to claim more than 1,000 deaths a day in the United States, the national opinion poll from October 18-22 shows the country’s focus on public health and disease has since faded. the beginning of the year. In October, just 12% of American adults ranked public health issues like the coronavirus as a top national priority, up from 20% in February.
Meanwhile, two-thirds of the country, including the majority of Democrats, Republicans and Independents, say “inflation is a very big concern for me.”
Americans are also keeping a close eye on the labor market in the era of the pandemic, where companies struggle to find enough workers while millions remain unemployed: the Reuters / Ipsos poll showed that 73% of adults want political leaders to focus on jobs and economic growth.
It is a radical change in the political landscape in just a year. Joe Biden and his Democratic Party won the White House and control of Congress last year as part of a campaign focused on the pandemic and its handling by former President Donald Trump.
Already, Democrats have failed to match an increase in the vote for the Tory candidates who helped Republicans win the Virginia governor’s race this week and lead a surprisingly competitive race in New Jersey. Now, it looks like what used to be Democrats’ biggest problem is no longer a priority.
“Americans are ready to stop worrying about the coronavirus” after nearly two years, said Nicholas Valentino, a political scientist at the University of Michigan.
“When they look around they see other issues that need to be addressed,” Valentino said. “They see jobs everywhere. They stand in long lines at grocery stores. They wait for things to be delivered because the supply chain is slow.”
Last November, a majority of voters – 61% – said COVID-19 was “an important factor” in determining their choice for president, and those voters backed Biden over Trump by a 52% margin at 46%, according to exit polls from the 2020 elections.
Biden took office with the approval of 55% of the country, and he has been praised for aggressively securing millions of doses of the coronavirus vaccine and nearly $ 2 trillion in financial aid from Congress.
Since then, Biden’s popularity has waned, even among Democrats and Independents who helped him take office.
Public approval of Biden’s record on the economy, immigration, national unity and even for his response to the coronavirus, has fallen almost every month since April, according to the poll.
Overall, approval of Biden’s performance in power is now hovering near its lowest levels of the year. The latest weekly survey shows that 44% of American adults approve of the president, which is down 11 percentage points from January, while 51% disapprove, up 19 points in the same period.
“These swing voters who were deeply concerned about Donald Trump’s failures a year ago are probably not thrilled with the way things are going now,” said Donald Green, voter turnout expert at Columbia University. . “That’s why many Democrats are on edge.”
PRIORITIES FOR 2022
Besides the economy, the Reuters / Ipsos poll in October shows the two sides aligned around a series of principles that could increase the vote among their core supporters as the coronavirus takes a back seat.
Nearly nine in ten Democrats favor tax hikes for the rich, 76% say climate change should be every country’s top concern, while 78% say “it’s too easy to access fire arms “.
On the other side of the political spectrum, 95% of Republicans support at least one of the party’s fundamentals: prioritizing the economy over all other issues, vigilance in the face of inflation, cuts in taxes and government deregulation.
They are also less likely than Democrats and Independents to support government efforts to fight the coronavirus. About half of Republicans – 51% – oppose demands for protective masks in schools, while 44% support them. In comparison, only 8% of Democrats and 30% of independents oppose school mask mandates.
With the mid-terms to one year, neither party has much advantage in political engagement: 61% of Democrats and 63% of Republicans say they are “totally certain” to vote.
Reuters / Ipsos polls are conducted online, in English, across the United States. The latest large-sample survey was conducted October 18-22 and collected responses from 4,430 adults, including 2,001 Democrats, 1,591 Republicans and 465 independents. The results have a credibility interval, a measure of precision, between 2 and 5 percentage points.
Reporting by Chris Kahn, editing by Soyoung Kim and Alistair Bell
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