• Polling

Americans Are Feeling the Rising Costs of Gas and Groceries

Friday, October 14, 2022 By Bryan Bennett
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Welcome to NAVIGATOR – a project designed to better understand the American public’s views on issues of the day and help advocates, elected officials, and other interested parties understand the language, imagery, and messaging needed to make and win key policy arguments.

Key takeaways

  • Americans remain pessimistic about the economy as their anxieties about the costs of everyday goods like groceries remain high; the share saying they are paying more for gas now compared to a few weeks ago has increased dramatically.
  • Greatest fears for Americans are a recession and losing their rights: Democrats are also concerned about mass shootings, independents about not being able to pay their bills, and Republicans about violent crime and illegal immigration.
  • The Inflation Reduction Act continues to earn strong support, and a range of potential policies Democrats could pass if they retain control of Congress are broadly popular, including decriminalizing or legalizing marijuana.

Americans Remain Negative on the Economy As Anxiety Increases Across the Board

Since early September, Democrats (net -32 positive, down from -19) and independents (net -74, down from -51) have grown more negative in their assessments of the U.S economy.

  • There has also been a 14-point net decline in the share who say the U.S. economy is getting better, with greatest declines coming from independents (from net -41 to net -65), Democrats (from net -2 to net -20), and white Americans (from net -43 to net -60).

A Growing Share of Americans Say Prices of Everyday Goods Are Increasing, With Groceries and Gas the Top Concerns

Nearly four in five (78%) Americans say the costs of groceries are going up “a significant amount,” driven by 85% of Republicans and 82% of white Americans.

The Share Who Say They Are Paying More for Gas Than a Few Weeks Ago Has Grown Dramatically Since Late September

Since just two weeks ago, the share reporting paying more for gas compared to a few weeks ago has risen by 32 points in the Midwest (from 49% to 81%) and 28 points in the South (from 42% to 70%).

Americans Most Afraid of a Recession, Losing Their Rights, Mass Shootings, and Violent Crime

Republicans (88% afraid) and independents (80%) are somewhat more fearful about a recession than Democrats (72%); Democrats are most afraid of mass shootings (84%), while fears about violent crime and illegal immigration are driven by Republicans (79% each).

  • Among Democratic women, more are “very afraid” of losing their rights (48%) than the economy falling into a recession (34%)

Support for the Inflation Reduction Act Remains Strong

Nearly two in three independents (65%) and majorities across race and ethnicity continue to support the Inflation Reduction Act.

Strongest Defense of Inflation Reduction Act Expanding IRS Enforcement Focuses on Stopping Tax Evasion By the Rich

Framing the Inflation Reduction Act as cracking down on tax evasion by the wealthy so that “everyone else doesn’t have to foot the bill” bests a conservative attack on “adding 87,000 IRS agents” by 7 points.

Most Popular Democratic Policies: Decriminalizing Marijuana, Raising Taxes on the Rich, Raising Minimum Wage

Independents are most supportive of decriminalizing (net +51 support) or legalizing marijuana (+57), federal paid family and medical leave (+56), and free childcare and early education (+49).

Non-Democrats Who Support at Least Half of Potential Dem Policies Are More Moderate, Support Inflation Reduction Act

Moderates disproportionately fall into this group of self-identified independents and Republicans who support at least half of the tested potential Democratic policies (36% fall into this group), as do new voters from 2020 (27%) and non-Fox News-viewing Republicans (47%).

  • On a range of partisan metrics, this group is more Republican-leaning (59%) but also a majority are moderate. While they have deeply negative ratings of Biden’s job performance (net -58 approval), they support the Inflation Reduction Act (net +43 support), oppose House Republicans’ “Commitment to America” plan (net -39), and are pro-choice by a two-to-one margin (65%/30%).

Majorities Across Party, Race, Ethnicity, and Age Overwhelmingly Support Legalizing/Decriminalizing Marijuana

Younger Americans ages 18-44 are more supportive (net +64 support) than those 65 and older (net +18 support).

  • Majorities of Democrats (81%), independents (73%), and Republicans (54%) support it.

About The Study

Global Strategy Group conducted public opinion surveys among a sample of 1,000 registered voters from October 6-October 10, 2022. 102 additional interviews were conducted among Hispanic voters. 78 additional interviews were conducted among Asian American and Pacific Islander voters. 102 additional interviews were conducted among African American voters. 99 additional interviews were conducted among independent voters.

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About Navigator

In a world where the news cycle is the length of a tweet, our leaders often lack the real-time public-sentiment analysis to shape the best approaches to talking about the issues that matter the most. Navigator is designed to act as a consistent, flexible, responsive tool to inform policy debates by conducting research and reliable guidance to inform allies, elected leaders, and the press. Navigator is a project led by pollsters from Global Strategy Group and GBAO along with an advisory committee, including: Andrea Purse, progressive strategist; Arkadi Gerney, The Hub Project; Joel Payne, The Hub Project; Christina Reynolds, EMILY’s List; Delvone Michael, Working Families; Felicia Wong, Roosevelt Institute; Mike Podhorzer, AFL-CIO; Jesse Ferguson, progressive strategist; Navin Nayak, Center for American Progress Action Fund; Stephanie Valencia, EquisLabs; and Melanie Newman, Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

For press inquiries contact: press@navigatorresearch.org