A new poll from the Financial Times - Michigan Ross has delivered a stark verdict on President Joe Biden's economic policies, with only 14% of American voters feeling financially better off since his tenure began - sentiment which could pose a significant challenge to Biden's re-election hopes, and reflects widespread skepticism about his administration's economic track record.
The poll reveals that nearly 70% of voters believe Biden's economic strategies have either harmed or not impacted the US economy. A notable 33% feel his policies has "hurt the economy a lot." In stark contrast, merely 26% see his policies as beneficial.
The new monthly poll conducted for the Financial Times and the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business will seek to track how economic sentiment affects the race for the White House. In 1980, Republican Ronald Reagan famously asked voters whether they were better off than they were four years earlier, setting the stage for his landslide victory over incumbent Democrat Jimmy Carter. -FT
Comparatively, a similar (pre-pandemic) poll from November 2019 showed less pronounced pessimism under Donald Trump’s presidency, despite most Americans feeling no improvement in their financial status. A November 2019 poll revealed that 35% of voters thought they were better off under Trump, while 31% said they were worse off.
Inflation, a persistent thorn in the Biden administration's side, continues to be the primary concern. A staggering 82% of respondents cited rising prices as their biggest financial stressor, overshadowing the administration's touted achievements in job growth and economic expansion.
"Every group — Democrats, Republicans and independents — list rising prices as by far the biggest economic threat . . . and the biggest source of financial stress," said Erik Gordon, a professor at Michigan’s Ross School - who says that worry over inflation spans political divides, and says it's "bad news for Biden."
Despite a decrease from last year's peak inflation rate, prices continue to rise significantly, evidenced by a 3.7% increase in the consumer price index compared to last year. These inflationary pressures have forced 65% of voters to cut back on non-essential spending, with more than half reducing spending on daily necessities.
While the Democratic Party recently celebrated victories in key states, the poll’s findings, combined with other national surveys, indicate potential challenges for Biden in a hypothetical match-up against Trump. With just 40% of voters approving of Biden's job performance and an even lower 36% approving of his handling of the economy, questions are being raised within the Democratic Party about his viability as a presidential nominee.