Inflation concerns weigh heavily on voters, vary by race: Poll

Inflation is “far and away” the biggest issue for Americans heading into the 2024 election, but economic outlooks and President Biden’s approval rating vary by race and ethnicity, according to a new Harvard CAPS/Harris poll.

As he faces off against former President Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, Biden has been battling negative perceptions of his handling of the economy.

When asked how strong they think the economy is today, 42 percent of respondents said it was strong while 58 percent perceive the economy as weak, according to the online survey of 1,660 registered voters conducted May 15-16, 2024.

Just 34 percent of respondents said they believe the economy is on the right track, although that answer varied significantly depending on whether the respondent was a Republican or Democrat — 13 percent and 59 percent, respectively.

Biden’s overall approval rating remains around 44 percent. But diving deeper into the data, the poll shows Biden’s approval is 66 percent among Black voters, 53 percent among Hispanic voters, 39 percent among white voters and 37 percent among Asian voters.

“The change we are seeing the polls across black and Latino voters is not about race but about the economy. Late percentages especially in the Latino community see the economy as in the wrong direction,” said Mark Penn, chairman of the Harvard CAPS/Harris pol..

Nearly half of the surveyed voters — 48 percent — said their personal financial situation is getting worse. According to a breakdown of respondents, 52 percent of Hispanic voters, 50 percent of white voters and 42 percent of Asian voters said their personal financial situation is getting worse, while 49 percent of Black voters said their personal financial situation is improving.

While national polling averages analyzed by The Hill/Decision Desk HQ show Trump and Biden in a neck and neck race less than 6 months out from the election, U.S. adults surveyed for a recent ABC News/Ipsos poll said they trust Trump over Biden on inflation by a margin of 14 percentage points.

Republicans have been hammering Biden on inflation, which topped 9 percent in June 2022 as the economy struggled to recover from the pandemic.

While inflation has since fallen to 3.4 percent year over year in April, that’s still above the Federal Reserve’s 2 percent annual growth target, and many Americans are feeling the pinch of high prices and interest rates, which the central bank has set at a 23-year high to try to cool the economy.

Ahead of his State of the Union address in March, Biden announced the formation of a “strike force” that would hold companies accountable for price-gouging practices. During a recent CNN interview, Biden called out “corporate greed” as a contributing factor in stubbornly high prices.

“If you take a look at what people have, they have the money to spend. It angers them and angers me that you have to spend more,” Biden said. “It’s like 20 percent less for the same price. That’s corporate greed. That’s corporate greed. And we have got to deal with it. And that’s what I’m working on.”

Trump took to Truth Social late Friday night to hammer his successor over his comments.

“Unbelievably, Crooked Joe went on television last week and proclaimed in an interview that Americans can actually AFFORD his brutal inflation tax — he declared that families QUOTE ‘have the money to spend,’ and then Biden blamed his economic disaster on companies shrinking the size of their Snickers bars,” Trump wrote.

Updated at 3:57 p.m. EDT

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