Economic issues like inflation are of top mind for midterm voters a month out from Election Day, giving Republicans a slight edge 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 the constitutional right to abortion, a majority of voters polled by Monmouth say they think Republicans should take back control of Congress.
The poll found 47% of voters want or prefer Republicans to control Congress compared with 44% who want or prefer Democrats. It’s a four percentage point gain for Republicans, up from 43% in August, and a six percentage point loss for Democrats, down from 50% a month ago.
The poll was conducted from September 21 to 25 and has a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.
While Democrats care about a variety of issues from climate change to abortion and Republicans home in on inflation and immigration, the poll found independent voters are primarily concerned with rising prices.
Overall, 82% of Americans ranked inflation as an extremely or very important issue, compared with 56% who ranked abortion as a top worry and 32% who said the coronavirus pandemic was a big concern. More broadly, anxiety about the economy and cost of living supersede concerns about losing fundamental rights or threats to democracy 54% to 38% among all Americans.
“Democrats are all over the place when it comes to their key issues. This makes it difficult for the party to create a cohesive messaging strategy to motivate its base. Republicans, on the other hand, just have to hammer away at rising prices and ‘the wolf is at the door’ to get their voters riled up,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute. “A major problem for Democrats is their base messaging doesn’t hold as much appeal for independents as the GOP issue agenda does.”
Independents in particular are more than twice as likely to give preference to economic issues over threats to human rights and democracy, 61% to 29%.
Moreover, only 30% of voters approve of President Joe Biden’s handling of inflation. He similarly received low marks on issues of abortion, 31%, and immigration, also 31%.