COVID-19 fades as dominant political issue as Americans focus on inflation and economy: Poll | Investment News

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Americans are increasingly turning away from the coronavirus and focusing their attention elsewhere, particularly on rising consumer prices and other areas of the economy where Democrats are less reliable, a Reuters/ Ipsos, a move that could favor Republicans next year. midterm elections.

As COVID-19 continues to claim more than 1,000 lives a day in the United States, the October 18-22 National Opinion Survey shows the nation’s fixation on public health and disease has faded since the beginning of the year. In October, just 12% of American adults considered public health issues like the coronavirus a top national priority, down from 20% in February.

Meanwhile, two-thirds of the country, including majorities of Democrats, Republicans and independents, say “inflation is a very big concern to me.”

Americans are also watching the labor market closely in the age of the pandemic, where companies are struggling 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.

This is a sea change in the political landscape in just one year. Joe Biden and his Democratic Party won the White House and control of Congress last year thanks to a campaign focused on the pandemic and former President Donald Trump’s handling of it.

Already, Democrats have failed to match a surge in votes for conservative candidates that helped Republicans win the race for governor in Virginia this week and lead a surprisingly competitive race in New Jersey. Now, it seems that what used to be the Democrats’ main 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 job postings everywhere. They line up 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 margin of 52. % to 46%, according to exit polls. from the 2020 elections.

Biden took office with the approval of 55% of the nation, and he has been praised for aggressively securing millions of doses of the coronavirus vaccine and nearly $2 trillion in financial assistance from Congress.

Since then, Biden’s popularity has waned, even among Democrats and independents who helped set him up.

Public approval of Biden’s record on the economy, immigration, national unity and even for his response to the coronavirus has fallen nearly every month since April, the poll found.

Overall, approval of Biden’s performance in office now sits near its lowest levels for the year. The latest weekly survey shows that 44% of American adults approve of the president, down 11 percentage points since January, while 51% disapprove , up 19. points over the same period.

“Those swing voters who were deeply concerned about Donald Trump’s failures a year ago probably aren’t thrilled with the way things are going now,” said Donald Green, a voter turnout expert at the University. of Columbia. “That’s why a lot of Democrats are nervous.”

Besides the economy, a Reuters/Ipsos poll in October shows the two parties aligned on a series of principles that could boost the vote among their grassroots supporters as the coronavirus fades into the background.

Nearly nine in 10 Democrats support tax hikes for the wealthy, 76% say climate change should be every country’s top concern, while 78% say ‘it’s too easy to get in’ to firearms”.

On the other side of the political spectrum, 95% of Republicans support at least one of the fundamental principles of the party: putting the economy first over all other issues, vigilance against inflation, tax cuts 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 protective mask requirements in schools, while 44% support them. By comparison, only 8% of Democrats and 30% of independents oppose school mask mandates.

One year from the midterm elections, neither party has much of an advantage in terms of political engagement: 61% of Democrats and 63% of Republicans say they are “completely certain” to vote.

Reuters/Ipsos polls are conducted online, in English, across the United States. The latest large-sample survey was conducted Oct. 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, of between 2 and 5 percentage points.

(Reporting by Chris Kahn, Editing by Soyoung Kim and Alistair Bell)

Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters.

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