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|View this email in your browser October 25, 2021 | by Chris Cillizza and Lauren DezenskiThe sneaky biggest issue of the 2022 election|
For all the talk of Covid-19 and President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda, there’s an issue that may well wind up being more powerful to sway voters next November than any other: inflation.
That’s according to a new polling memo from Democratic pollster Joel Benenson and Republican pollster Neil Newhouse — two of the top in their profession — for Center Forward, a centrist, bipartisan nonprofit aimed at fostering discussion between the two parties on key issues.
Asked about inflation, nearly 7 in 10 voters (68%) nationally agreed with the statement that “inflation is a problem and people will continue to pay more money on everyday expenses unless the government becomes more fiscally responsible.” (By contrast, just 22% said they agreed most that “inflation is only temporary, and as we recover from the pandemic things will fall back in line.”)
The vast majority of Republicans (88%) and independents (71%) agreed that inflation isn’t going anywhere unless and until the government becomes more fiscally responsible. Interestingly, 48% of self-identified Democrats said the same. And the news is even more sobering when you consider voters in battleground states, with 71% saying they believe inflation isn’t going to disappear without the government tightening its belt.
Experts agree inflation isn’t going away anytime soon. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said over the weekend that inflation, which was above 5% in September, won’t be back to more acceptable levels — around 2% — until the second half of next year. Major companies are saying the same. “Inflation will continue to be a key theme for the remainder of this [year] and for next year,” predicted Unilever CEO Alan Jope recently. The Benenson/Newhouse data suggests that when — and if — inflation returns to normal could have a lot to do with Democrats’ chances of holding their House and Senate majorities next November. The Point: Concerns about inflation, and a belief the government is to blame, are already considerable in the electorate — and across party lines. High inflation when people begin voting next year could well spell doom for Democrats. — Chris