What’s Moving the Electorate Needle?
President Joe Biden recently touted Bidenomics creating 300,000 new jobs and a better economy for middle-class Americans. At the end of his speech a reporter asked if things were better why had polling revealed Americans felt it was worse. He replied, “I think they [Americans] know they are better off financially than they were before. It’s a fact.” He added that the polling showed that Americans were positive about the economy, as NBC reported. However, not all polling or reporting agrees with Biden’s statement.
Over the last two and half years, inflation went from record lows to record highs, energy and food prices spiked, reported record savings have dwindled while the Federal Reserve’s inflation fight increased financial pressures on American families. The Daily Caller recently reported that bankruptcies are rising for the first time in 13 years.
The economy plays a role in everyone’s life. No one escapes its touch. The Federal Reserve has aimed at maximum employment and stable prices while increasing the federal fund rate 525 basis points over 18-months. The historic fast paced rise was intended to curb raging inflation that had reached 9.1% in June 2022 and return it to the 2% arena. U.S. citizens have suffered the brunt of the Fed’s action.
Jerome Powell, chairman of the Federal Reserve said October 19th that inflation was still too high at 3.7% and slower economic growth and job market would likely be the antidote. Powell said the resilience in the economy was unexpected. He noted concerns of recession were on hold as it hadn’t yet occurred. The chairman also said there was no evidence of interest rates being too high, adding they hadn’t been high enough long enough to curb the economic growth, as reported by the Associated Press.
Regardless of Powell’s prognosis, Americans are feeling financial pain. A CNN poll during the summer noted over half of those surveyed felt the economy was growing worse. The news giant reported that pessimism and negative approval ratings surrounding the president could spell T-R-O-U-B-L-E for the Biden-Harris team come election day.
In late September, an NBC poll found Americans believe Republicans are more adept at handing the economy, crime and immigration issues. NBC reported 49% of registered voters chose republicans and 28% chose democrats as the better party to handle the economy. That 21-point advantage is the largest lead republicans have had since 1991, and the democrats smallest advantage since 1989, according to NBC polling.
U.S. News and World Report pointed out that regardless of the economic news, consumers are concerned with life’s necessities–food, gas and housing. Joanne Hsu, the survey director, said assessments of personal finances fell 15% primarily over inflation concerns.
The Small Business Optimism Index also fell slightly in September to 90.8%. It was the 21st consecutive month under 98%, its average reading for nearly a half century.
How the electorate will vote remains to be seen, but one thing is clear: the economy will play a significant role.
Robyn Spradlin is a freelance journalist working as a contributor for Christian News Journal covering news and politics on the national and state levels. She has worked as a copywriter for Victory News on the Victory Channel since 2022. Robyn has an BA in Communication Studies and MA in Journalism from Regent University and is a member of the Evangelical Press Association. She is an author, evangelistic minister and a musician.