Voters pivot from COVID to economy -Reuters poll

A phrase once coined by Democrats back in the Bill Clinton era – and later echoed by former President Donald Trump - appears relevant again when it comes to drawing voters.

TRUMP. MARCH 29, 2018: “You know the expression, from, I guess it was Bill Clinton! ‘It’s the economy, stupid!’ Well, it is the economy.”

According to a Reuters/Ipsos poll out Thursday, Americans are increasingly turning their attention away from the pandemic and toward rising consumer prices and other economic areas – a shift that could favor Republicans in next year's midterm elections.

While COVID-19 continues to claim more than 1,000 lives a day in the U.S., the survey showed the country's fixation on public health has faded since the beginning of the year.

In October, just 12% of adults rated issues like the coronavirus as a top national priority, down from 20% in February.

Meanwhile, a majority of Democrats, Republicans and independents say that “inflation is a very big concern.”

73% of adults want leaders to focus on jobs and economic growth, with businesses struggling to find workers while millions remain unemployed.

It’s a dramatic shift in the political landscape in just one year.

Joe Biden won the White House and Democrats won control of Congress last year on a campaign focused on the pandemic and Trump's handling of it.

But what had been Democrats' top voter issue appears to be no longer top of mind.

Democrats have already failed to match a surge in votes for conservative candidates that helped Republicans win the Virginia governor's race this week and wage a surprisingly competitive race in New Jersey.

Besides the economy, Republicans like Virginia’s newly elected Governor Glenn Youngkin are driving up GOP turnout by latching on to another concern expressed by their base.

YOUNGKIN: "And so on Day One I will ban critical race theory from being in our schools...."

Youngkin vowed to ban the teaching of "critical race theory," a legal framework that examines how racism shapes U.S. laws and policies.

BIDEN: "My Build Back Better plan gets us back on track...."

A similar rallying cry for Democrats could be tax hikes for the wealthy, climate change or curbing access to guns, all important to Democratic voters, the Reuters poll showed.

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