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The two main concerns of voters are the future of the country and inflation.
They also appear poised to oust the incumbent in this fall’s election, with 39% favoring the Democratic candidate in their riding and 46% backing the Republican, if they vote today.
That 7-point advantage is up from 2 points last month and is the largest Republicans have held this year. Fox News models suggest it would be a 44-seat swing in the House and an 11-seat swing in the Senate.
“The number of ballots in Congress correlates strongly with changes in partisan distribution of seats,” says Republican pollster Daron Shaw, who conducts the Fox News poll with Democratic pollster Chris Anderson. “They may bounce back a bit in the next few months, but if we see a 7-point Republican advantage in the national vote this fall, we’re going to see an election wave for the GOP.”
Those are some of the findings of a Fox News nationwide survey of registered voters released on Tuesday.
Opinions on the economy are bleak, with most saying the economy is in bad shape and high prices are a hardship. More than twice as many people also say their financial situation is worse than two years ago.
Republicans lead Democrats among those who are “extremely” concerned about inflation by 23 points and those who are worried about the country’s future by 19 points.
INFLATION NATION: EXPERTS WARN RISE IN PRICE IS HERE TO STAY
The number indicating the economy is in positive shape has declined since President Biden took office as sentiment is at its worst since May 2020. Only 21% rate conditions positively, down from 33% in December 2020. Seventy-seven percent rate the economy negatively — including majorities of Republicans (88%), independents (82%) and Democrats (63%).
Two-thirds think inflation will continue to be a major problem for at least another year.
It already hurts for many. Three-quarters say recent price increases are causing financial hardship for their families. And a growing number of people say it’s a “serious” ordeal. Higher grocery prices are a serious issue for 44%, up from 36% in February. Same story on the price of gasoline: 44% of serious difficulties, against 35% previously.
It’s no surprise, then, that by a margin of 26 points, voters are more likely to say they are worse off financially than they were two years ago (18% better, 44% worse).
“Economic assessments are clearly driving the Congressional ballot at this point,” Shaw said. “The preponderance of political science research indicates that the second quarter economic numbers are most critical to the election, so there is a small window for the economy to rebound and for the administration to change things politically.”
Of 14 concerns measured, the two most important are the country’s future and inflation, with 87% extremely or very concerned about both.
Other top concerns include the future of US democracy (84%), political divisions within the country (81%), Ukraine (80%) and higher crime rates (79%). Around three-quarters worry about what is taught in schools (74%), gun laws (73%) and opioid addiction (72%), while 7 in 10 think the same about illegal immigration (71%), the abortion policy (69%) and the banning of books (67%). Smaller majorities are concerned about climate change (57%) and coronavirus (55%).
Biden receives his lowest marks for his handling of inflation. Some 28% approve and 67% disapprove, putting it under water by 39 points.
Its ratings are also net negative on Ukraine (-6 points), climate change (-12), Russia (-16), weapons (-23), economy (-25), crime (- 26) and immigration (-29). The pandemic remains the only issue on which Biden receives a positive rating: 49% approve and 47% disapprove.
Thirty-eight percent of Democrats disapprove of Biden on inflation. While that’s well below the 70% of independents and 90% of Republicans who disapprove, it’s the biggest disapproval he receives from Democrats on any issue.
Overall, 45% of voters approve of the job Biden is doing as president, while 53% disapprove. It was 45-54% last month. A year ago it was the opposite, 54-43% (April 2021).
TRUCK DRIVERS EXPRESS CONCERN OVER RISE IN DIESEL COSTS
For comparison, around the same time in the election cycle, former President Obama’s employment rating stood at 48% approval – 43% disapproval (May 2010). For Trump, it was 44% approval – 53% disapproval (April 2018).
Biden has lost ground with several key voting blocks. Compared to the highest approval ever within the group, its current approval is down double digits among Hispanic voters (-21), under-30s (-20), self-styled liberals (-15 ), black voters (-14 ), and women (-11).
Overall, 32% are satisfied with the way things are going in the country today. More than double, 67%, are dissatisfied — compared to 53% who were dissatisfied after Biden’s 100-day presidency.
“It’s a brutal environment for Democrats heading into midterms, as voters overwhelmingly disapprove of Biden’s performance on inflation as they feel his bite more and more every day. It’s safe to say that Biden won’t isn’t to blame, but it’s not the argument that’s gonna keep Congress in check,” Anderson said.
“Voters need to see Democrats take inflation seriously, not deflect blame.”
Adding to Democrats’ concerns: While an equal number of Democrats (43%) and Republicans (42%) feel energized by politics these days, more Republicans (52%) than Democrats (41 %) are extremely interested in the midterm elections. That helps the GOP maintain a 19-point advantage among voters extremely interested in the election.
– More voters blame current gas prices on government regulations (77%) than say national oil companies (71%), the policies of the Biden administration (70%) or the actions of Russian President Vladimir Putin (66%) are responsible.
– There are significant partisan gaps on the concerns. More Republicans than Democrats are concerned about illegal immigration (by 34 points), and about crime rates and what is taught in public schools (both by 16 points). More Democrats than Republicans are worried about COVID (by 26 points) and climate change (by 49 points).
– By a margin of 54-33%, voters think tougher penalties for people who commit crimes with guns would be more likely to reduce gun violence than tougher restrictions on people who buy guns .
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– While about three-quarters of Democrats and Republicans are concerned about gun laws, they disagree on how to reduce gun violence. With a 16-point margin, Democrats say tougher restrictions on guns, while Republicans say tougher penalties for gun crimes by 52 points.
– Vice President Kamala Harris’ current job rating is 41% approval and 53% disapproval.
– Twenty-six percent approve of the work Congress is doing, while a majority of 66% disapproves.
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Conducted from April 28 to May 1, 2022 under the joint direction of Beacon Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R), this Fox News poll includes interviews with 1,003 registered voters nationwide who were randomly selected in a national electoral register and spoke with pollsters live on landlines and cellphones. The total sample has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.
Fox News’ Victoria Balara contributed to this report.