Monmouth Poll: Economic Issues Outweigh Concerns about Rights in Midterm Vote

Economic issues are a bigger factor in this year’s midterm elections than concerns about rights and democracy, according to the latest Monmouth University Poll. Democrats prioritize a fairly wide range of issues from climate change to abortion, while Republicans focus on a more limited set including inflation, crime, and immigration. Independents, though, tend to hone in on one issue above all: rising prices. Further dampening Democrats’ prospects are the poor numbers President Joe Biden gets for his performance on the issues most important to independents.

Republicans have made slight gains in the public’s preference for party control of Congress since the summer. Currently, 36% of Americans say they want the GOP in charge and another 11% have no initial preference but lean toward Republican control. Democratic control is preferred by 34% with another 10% leaning toward the Democrats. The combined 47% who choose Republican control is up from 43% in August, while the 44% support level for Democratic control is down from 50%.

 National poll of adults Sept. 21-25, 2022 Very important that preferred party controls Congress 2022 Rep Dem Sep 62% 58% Aug 59% 63% Jun 63% 66% May 61% 67% Mar 64% 59% Jan 56% 61%

A majority (54%) of Americans say it is very important to have their preferred party in control of Congress. This control importance metric is slightly higher among those who want Republicans (62%) than those who want Democrats (58%) leading Congress, which is a flip of the partisan result for this question in last month’s poll. Similarly, those who want Republican leadership (65%) are somewhat more likely than those who want Democrats in charge (58%) to say they are extremely motivated to vote this year.

“Because the congressional map favors the GOP, Democrats need to do more than ‘keep it close’ in order to hold onto their House majority. One roadblock for them is that the issue picture favors Republicans,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

AMERICA’S ISSUE PRIORITIES

 

Extremely

or very important

Approve Biden’s handling

Inflation

82%

30%

Crime

72%

32%

Elections & voting

70%

43%

Jobs, unemployment

68%

43%

Immigration

67%

31%

Infrastructure

57%

43%

Abortion

56%

31%

Racial inequality

53%

41%

Gun control

51%

30%

Climate change

49%

42%

Covid pandemic

32%

50%

Student loan debt

31%

41%

National poll; Sep 21-25, 2022

The poll asked about the importance of 12 issue areas for the federal government to address. Those rated either extremely or very important by the largest number of Americans include inflation (82%), crime (72%), elections and voting (70%), jobs and unemployment (68%), and immigration (67%). The next tier of issue concerns includes transportation and energy infrastructure (57%), abortion (56%), racial inequality (53%), gun control (51%), and climate change (49%). The least important issues for federal government action right now are the Covid pandemic (32%) and student loan debt (31%). About 8 in 10 Republicans put inflation, crime, and immigration at the top of their issue list. A similar number of Democrats prioritize climate change, racial inequality, elections and voting, gun control, and abortion, with about 3 in 4 also giving emphasis to jobs and inflation. However, the only issue which more than 3 in 4 independents place high importance on is inflation. Additionally, independents are more concerned about overall economic issues along with crime and immigration than they are by other issues.

When asked which group of issues is more important in their support for Congress this year, concerns about the economy and cost of living (54%) outpace concerns about fundamental rights and democratic processes (38%) among all Americans. Republicans prioritize the economy (71%), while Democrats prioritize rights (67%). Independents are more likely to give preference to economic issues (61%) than concerns about rights and democracy (29%).

“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 Murray. He added, “A major problem for Democrats is their base messaging doesn’t hold as much appeal for independents as the GOP issue agenda does. Even though truly persuadable independents are a rather small group these days, this small difference can have a major impact given the expectation that congressional control will hinge on a handful of very close contests.”

            Perception of President Biden’s performance on these key issues is not helping the Democratic cause. The only issue where he gets a net positive rating is handling the Covid pandemic (50% approve and 47% disapprove) – which is one of the public’s lowest priority issues right now. Only 3 in 10 Americans approve of the job Biden has done on the nation’s top concern – inflation (30%) – as well as other concerns that Republicans are focused on – i.e., crime (32%) and immigration (31%). Biden also gets similarly low marks on abortion (31%) and gun control (30%) – two issues that are important to Democrats. About 4 in 10 approve of the president’s performance on other issues covered in the poll.

Democrats are about twice as likely as independents – and many multiples more likely than Republicans – to give Biden high marks for handling each of these issues. Still, Democrats are relatively less prone to approve of the president’s performance on crime, inflation, abortion, immigration, and gun control – between 61% and 69% – when compared with the other seven issues covered in the poll. Biden gets between 77% and 82% approval from his fellow Democrats on these issues, except for Covid where he earns nearly universal approval (91%).

“Obviously, the Republicans are hitting away at issues where Biden – and by extension the Democratic Party – is weakest. But it’s also worth noting that Biden does not provide a rallying point for Democratic voters on some of the issues, such as abortion, that his party is leaning on to motivate its own base,” said Murray.

About half the public (49%) say Biden is doing worse than they thought he would as president, 21% say he is doing better, and 28% say he has accomplished about what they thought he would. The president’s overall job rating remains negative, but stable. Currently, 38% approve of the job Biden is doing while 54% disapprove. His approval rating in Monmouth’s polling through 2022 has hovered between 36% and 39%, while his disapproval rating has ranged from 54% to 58%. The president gets an 84% approval rating from his fellow Democrats, but only 28% among independents and 6% among Republicans. Biden last held a net positive rating in July 2021 (48% approve and 44% disapprove).

In other poll findings, Congress earns a negative 23% approve and 66% disapprove job rating, which is up from its recent low of 15% to 78% in June. The increase in congressional job approval has come mainly from Democrats (50% now, up from 30% in June). Just 23% of Americans say the country is headed in the right direction, while 74% say it has gotten off on the wrong track. The current results mark a return to ratings from earlier in the year after bottoming out at 10% right direction and 88% wrong track in June. This shift is due mainly to a relatively better outlook among Democrats (49% right direction, up from 18% in June).

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from September 21 to 25, 2022 with 806 adults in the United States.  The question results in this release have a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points. The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ.

QUESTIONS AND RESULTS     

(* Some columns may not add to 100% due to rounding.)

1.      Do you approve or disapprove of the job Joe Biden is doing as president?

  TREND:

Sept.2022

Aug.2022

June2022

May2022

March2022

Jan.2022

Dec.2021

Nov.2021

Sept.2021

July2021

June2021

April2021

March2021

Jan.2021

Approve

38%

38%

36%

38%

39%

39%

40%

42%

46%

48%

48%

54%

51%

54%

Disapprove

54%

56%

58%

57%

54%

54%

50%

50%

46%

44%

43%

41%

42%

30%

(VOL) No opinion

8%

7%

6%

5%

7%

7%

11%

9%

8%

8%

9%

5%

8%

16%

(n)

(806)

(808)

(978)

(807)

(809)

(794)

(808)

(811)

(802)

(804)

(810)

(800)

(802)

(809)

2.      Do you approve or disapprove of the job the U.S. Congress is doing?

  TREND:

Sept.2022

Aug.2022

June2022

May2022

March2022

Jan.2022

Dec.2021

Nov.2021

Sept.2021

July2021

June2021

April2021

March2021

Jan.2021

Approve

23%

17%

15%

15%

21%

19%

23%

18%

22%

23%

21%

35%

30%

35%

Disapprove

66%

74%

78%

77%

71%

74%

66%

70%

65%

62%

65%

56%

59%

51%

(VOL) No opinion

11%

9%

7%

8%

8%

6%

11%

12%

13%

15%

15%

9%

11%

14%

(n)

(806)

(808)

(978)

(807)

(809)

(794)

(808)

(811)

(802)

(804)

(810)

(800)

(802)

(809)

  TREND:

Continued

Nov.2020

Early June2020

May2020

April2020

Feb.2020

Jan.2020

Dec.2019

Nov.2019

Sept.2019

Aug.2019

June2019

May2019

April2019

March2019

Jan.2019

Approve

23%

22%

32%

32%

20%

24%

22%

23%

21%

17%

19%

20%

24%

23%

18%

Disapprove

64%

69%

55%

55%

69%

62%

65%

64%

68%

71%

69%

71%

62%

68%

72%

(VOL) No opinion

13%

9%

13%

13%

11%

14%

13%

13%

11%

13%

12%

9%

14%

9%

10%

(n)

(810)

(807)

(808)

(857)

(902)

(903)

(903)

(908)

(1,161)

(800)

(751)

(802)

(801)

(802)

(805)

  TREND: Continued

Nov.2018

Aug.2018

June2018

April2018

March2018

Jan.2018

Dec.2017

Sept.2017

Aug.2017

July2017

May2017

March2017

Jan.2017

Approve

23%

17%

19%

17%

18%

21%

16%

17%

18%

19%

19%

25%

23%

Disapprove

63%

69%

67%

71%

72%

68%

65%

69%

69%

70%

68%

59%

66%

(VOL) No opinion

14%

14%

14%

12%

11%

11%

19%

15%

13%

11%

13%

16%

11%

(n)

(802)

(805)

(806)

(803)

(803)

(806)

(806)

(1,009)

(805)

(800)

(1,002)

(801)

(801)

  TREND: Continued

Sept.2016*

Aug.2016*

June2016*

March2016

Jan.2016

Dec.2015

Oct.2015

Sept.2015

Aug.2015

July2015

June2015

April2015

Jan.2015

Dec.2014

July2013

Approve

15%

14%

17%

22%

17%

16%

17%

19%

18%

18%

19%

21%

18%

17%

14%

Disapprove

77%

78%

76%

68%

73%

73%

71%

71%

72%

69%

71%

67%

70%

73%

76%

(VOL) No opinion

8%

9%

7%

10%

10%

10%

12%

11%

11%

12%

10%

12%

11%

11%

10%

(n)

(802)

(803)

(803)

(1,008)

(1,003)

(1,006)

(1,012)

(1,009)

(1,203)

(1,001)

(1,002)

(1,005)

(1,003)

(1,008)

(1,012)

        * Registered voters

3.      Would you rather see the Republicans or the Democrats in control of Congress, or doesn’t this matter to you? [CHOICES WERE ROTATED] [If DOES NOT MATTER: If you had to lean one way or the other would you pick the Republicans or the Democrats?]

  TREND:

Sept.2022

Aug.2022

June2022

May2022

March2022

Jan.2022

Republicans

36%

34%

36%

36%

33%

35%

Not matter, but lean Rep

11%

9%

11%

12%

12%

15%

Democrats

34%

38%

38%

34%

33%

33%

Not matter, but lean Dem

10%

12%

9%

10%

13%

10%

Does not matter, no lean

8%

5%

6%

7%

9%

7%

(VOL) Don’t know

2%

1%

1%

1%

1%

0%

(n)

(806)

(808)

(978)

(807)

(809)

(794)

4.      Is it very important, somewhat important, or only a little important to have [Republicans/Democrats] in control of Congress? [CHOICE READ FROM Q3]

  TREND:

Sept.2022

Aug.2022

June2022

May2022

March2022

Jan.2022

Very important

54%

57%

60%

59%

56%

54%

Somewhat important

22%

24%

20%

20%

21%

23%

Only a little important

11%

11%

11%

12%

12%

15%

(VOL) Don’t know / Does not matter who controls Congress (from Q3)

12%

7%

9%

9%

11%

8%

(n)

(806)

(808)

(978)

(807)

(809)

(794)

5.      How motivated are you to vote in this year’s election – extremely motivated, very motivated, somewhat motivated, or not motivated?

Sept.2022

Extremely motivated

59%

Very motivated

17%

Somewhat motivated

13%

Not motivated

10%

(VOL) Don’t know

1%

(n)

(806)

6.      Which is more important to you in deciding who to support for Congress this year –concerns about fundamental rights and the democratic process OR concerns about the economy and cost of living? [CHOICES WERE ROTATED]

Sept.2022

Concerns about fundamental rights and the democratic process

38%

Concerns about the economy and cost of living

54%

(VOL) Both equally

7%

(VOL) Don’t know

2%

(n)

(806)

7.      I am going to read you a number of different issues and want you to tell me how important it is for the federal government to address these issues. For each one, please tell me if you feel it is extremely important, very important, just somewhat important, or not important? [ITEMS WERE ROTATED]

       TREND:

Extremely important

Veryimportant

Justsomewhat important

Notimportant

(VOL) Don’t know

(n)

The Covid pandemic

11%

21%

32%

34%

1%

(806)

   — Sept. 2021 *

43%

29%

19%

9%

1%

(802)

       — Jan. 2021 *

47%

34%

13%

6%

1%

(809)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Climate change

24%

25%

19%

32%

1%

(806)

   — Sept. 2021

33%

27%

21%

19%

1%

(802)

       — Jan. 2021

27%

33%

23%

16%

1%

(809)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Racial inequality

27%

26%

25%

21%

1%

(806)

   — Sept. 2021

34%

31%

20%

13%

2%

(802)

   — Jan. 2021

32%

39%

19%

8%

2%

(809)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jobs and unemployment

28%

40%

25%

6%

0%

(806)

   — Sept. 2021

32%

45%

17%

6%

0%

(802)

   — Jan. 2021

36%

52%

10%

2%

1%

(809)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Transportation and energy infrastructure

21%

36%

33%

9%

1%

(806)

   — Sept. 2021

23%

42%

29%

6%

0%

(802)

   — Jan. 2021

17%

44%

33%

5%

1%

(809)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crime

34%

38%

20%

8%

1%

(806)

   — Jan. 2021 **

30%

44%

20%

4%

1%

(809)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Immigration

30%

37%

24%

8%

1%

(806)

   — Jan. 2021

27%

44%

23%

5%

1%

(809)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inflation

37%

45%

15%

3%

0%

(806)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Abortion

31%

25%

17%

24%

3%

(806)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elections and voting

37%

33%

19%

10%

1%

(806)

   — Jan. 2021 ***

34%

41%

19%

5%

1%

(809)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Student loan debt

13%

18%

28%

38%

2%

(806)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gun control

27%

24%

20%

28%

1%

(806)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

        *    Prior poll wording: “The coronavirus pandemic”

        **  Prior poll wording: “Law and order”

        *** Prior poll wording: “Election laws and voting access”

8.      Thinking about Joe Biden’s presidency so far, would you say he is doing a lot better than you thought he would, a little better than you thought, a lot worse than you thought, a little worse than you thought, or has he accomplished about what you thought he would?

Sept.2022

Lot better

10%

Little better

11%

Lot worse

35%

Little worse

14%

About what you thought

28%

(VOL) Don’t know

2%

(n)

(806)

9.      Do you approve or disapprove of how Joe Biden has handled the following policy areas? [ITEMS WERE ROTATED]

Approve

Disapprove

(VOL) Don’t know

(n)

The Covid pandemic

50%

47%

3%

(806)

 

 

 

 

 

Climate change

42%

50%

9%

(806)

 

 

 

 

Racial inequality

41%

53%

7%

(806)

 

 

 

 

 

Jobs and unemployment

43%

52%

5%

(806)

 

 

 

 

 

Transportation and energy infrastructure

43%

49%

8%

(806)

 

 

 

 

 

Crime

32%

61%

8%

(806)

 

 

 

 

 

Immigration

31%

63%

6%

(806)

 

 

 

 

 

Inflation

30%

66%

4%

(806)

 

 

 

 

 

Abortion

31%

59%

9%

(806)

 

 

 

 

 

Elections and voting

43%

47%

10%

(806)

 

 

 

 

 

Student loan debt

41%

54%

5%

(806)

 

 

 

 

 

Gun control

30%

63%

7%

(806)

 

 

 

 

 

10.    Would you say things in the country are going in the right direction, or have they gotten off on the wrong track?

  TREND:

Sept.2022

Aug.2022

June2022

May2022

March2022

Jan.2022

Dec.2021

Nov.2021

Sept.2021

July2021

June2021

April2021

March2021

Jan.2021

Right direction

23%

15%

10%

18%

24%

24%

30%

31%

29%

38%

37%

46%

34%

42%

Wrong track

74%

82%

88%

79%

73%

71%

66%

64%

65%

56%

57%

50%

61%

51%

(VOL) Depends

2%

1%

1%

2%

1%

3%

1%

2%

4%

3%

3%

2%

4%

3%

(VOL) Don’t know

2%

2%

1%

2%

2%

2%

3%

3%

2%

4%

3%

2%

2%

4%

(n)

(806)

(808)

(978)

(807)

(809)

(794)

(808)

(811)

(802)

(804)

(810)

(800)

(802)

(809)

  TREND: Continued

Nov.2020

Early Sept.2020

Aug.2020

Late June2020

Early June2020

May2020

April2020

March2020

Feb.2020

Jan.2020

Right direction

26%

27%

22%

18%

21%

33%

30%

39%

37%

37%

Wrong track

68%

66%

72%

74%

74%

60%

61%

54%

57%

56%

(VOL) Depends

4%

4%

4%

5%

4%

4%

5%

4%

6%

6%

(VOL) Don’t know

2%

3%

2%

3%

1%

3%

5%

3%

1%

1%

(n)

(810)

(867)

(868)

(867)

(807)

(808)

(857)

(851)

(902)

(903)

  TREND: Continued

Dec.2019

Nov.2019

Sept.2019

Aug.2019

June2019

May2019

April2019

March2019

Nov.2018

Aug.2018

June2018

April2018

March2018

Jan.2018

Right direction

32%

30%

30%

28%

31%

29%

28%

29%

35%

35%

40%

33%

31%

37%

Wrong track

56%

61%

61%

62%

62%

63%

62%

63%

55%

57%

53%

58%

61%

57%

(VOL) Depends

8%

7%

6%

8%

6%

4%

7%

6%

7%

6%

3%

5%

6%

3%

(VOL) Don’t know

4%

2%

2%

2%

2%

3%

3%

2%

3%

3%

3%

4%

1%

3%

(n)

(903)

(908)

(1,161)

(800)

(751)

(802)

(801)

(802)

(802)

(805)

(806)

(803)

(803)

(806)

  TREND: Continued

Dec.2017

Aug.2017

May2017

March2017

Jan.2017

Aug.2016*

Oct.2015

July2015

June2015

April2015

Dec.2014

July2013

Right direction

24%

32%

31%

35%

29%

30%

24%

28%

23%

27%

23%

28%

Wrong track

66%

58%

61%

56%

65%

65%

66%

63%

68%

66%

69%

63%

(VOL) Depends

7%

4%

5%

4%

4%

2%

6%

5%

5%

5%

5%

5%

(VOL) Don’t know

3%

5%

3%

5%

2%

3%

4%

3%

3%

2%

3%

4%

(n)

(806)

(805)

(1,002)

(801)

(801)

(803)

(1,012)

(1,001)

(1,002)

(1,005)

(1,008)

(1,012)

        * Registered voters

[Q11-25 previously released.]

[Q26-32 held for future release.]

METHODOLOGY

The Monmouth University Poll was sponsored and conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from September 21 to 25, 2022 with a probability-based national random sample of 806 adults age 18 and older. This includes 283 contacted by a live interviewer on a landline telephone and 523 contacted by a live interviewer on a cell phone, in English. Telephone numbers were selected through a mix of random digit dialing and list-based sampling. Landline respondents were selected with a modified Troldahl-Carter youngest adult household screen. Interviewing services were provided by Braun Research, with sample obtained from Dynata (RDD, n=571), Aristotle (list, n=156) and a panel of prior Monmouth poll participants (n=79). Monmouth is responsible for all aspects of the survey design, data weighting and analysis. The full sample is weighted for region, age, education, gender and race based on US Census information (ACS 2018 one-year survey). For results based on this sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling has a maximum margin of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points (unadjusted for sample design). Sampling error can be larger for sub-groups (see table below). In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.

 

DEMOGRAPHICS (weighted)

Self-Reported

28% Republican

43% Independent

29% Democrat

 

49% Male

51% Female

 

30% 18-34

33% 35-54

37% 55+

 

63% White

12% Black

16% Hispanic

  8% Asian/Other

 

69% No degree

31% 4 year degree

MARGIN OF ERROR

unweighted  sample

moe(+/-)

TOTAL

 

806

3.5%

REGISTERED VOTER

Yes

750

3.6%

No

56

13.1%

SELF-REPORTED PARTY ID

Republican

236

6.4%

Independent

318

5.5%

Democrat

245

6.3%

IDEOLOGY

Liberal

173

7.5%

Moderate

321

5.5%

Conservative

291

5.8%

GENDER

Male

396

4.9%

Female

410

4.8%

AGE

18-34

129

8.6%

35-54

302

5.6%

55+

369

5.1%

CHILDREN IN HOME

Yes

219

6.6%

No

582

4.1%

RACE

White, non-Hispanic

578

4.1%

Other

203

6.9%

COLLEGE GRADUATE

No degree

371

5.1%

4 year degree

431

4.7%

WHITE COLLEGE

White, no degree

258

6.1%

White, 4 year degree

319

5.5%

INCOME

<$50K

187

7.2%

$50 to <$100K

247

6.2%

$100K+

306

5.6%

 

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One response to “Monmouth Poll: Economic Issues Outweigh Concerns about Rights in Midterm Vote”

  1. The latest Gallup Poll, released on October 4th, said that ONLY 4% of American voters are interested in the Abortion issue as compared to the economy, inflation, crime, the border invasion by illegal aliens from 165 countries, and parents rights in education. Everything else is not even on the radar (and that includes the Abortion issue).

    Democrats need to drop this issue because it’s a non-starter. They are attempting, without any success, to use abortion as an issue to deflect voters from their poor policies that are destroying the economy, the energy sector, causing massive inflation, failure to stop crime because of defunding the police & hiring “no-bail” prosecutors, and poor policies in allowing hundreds of thousands of illegal (criminal) aliens to invade our southern borders PER MONTH.

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