(NewsNation) — With more than 30 days left before the midterm elections, high prices remain a key issue for most voters who report they are highly motivated compared to the previous election, according to the latest NewsNation/Decision Desk HQ poll released Tuesday.
Inflation remains the main driver of the vote, with 45% of respondents choosing cost increases as the most important factor in this election. Abortion followed behind, with 18% of surveyors saying it motivated them to vote this November.
Decision Desk HQ Senior Data Scientist Kiel Williams outlines the poll data, noting inflation is an issue that extends beyond party affiliation.
“Even among Democrats – where things like abortion, things like climate change are very important – even there, inflation is the answer to a plurality of issues that matter most,” Williams said.
According to the latest consumer price index, prices were up 0.1% in August and up 8.3% in the last 12 months. Last week, the Federal Reserve raised interest rates to a level not seen in over a decadethird rate hike since June.
Holiday shopping in particular is on the minds of voters, with 46% of all voters saying they will spend less money this year.
Just under half of respondents said they were worse off financially than last year (47%). Broken down by party, Republicans surveyed (57%) reported that they did worse than Democrats (37.9% worse) and Independents (48.5% worse).
“It’s always funny to me historically, to look at these questions whether you’re better or worse than you were a year ago,” Williams said. “And if you break it down by party … as soon as the White House switches control, which thought they were for better or worse a year ago, immediately reversed itself.”
Absent from this analysis is the importance of midterm crime, which was not included in the poll’s questions about the factors that drive people to vote. However, 18.7% of respondents cited crime as the biggest problem facing the nation, second only to inflation (65%).
Violent crimes increase by 5% by 2020, according to available FBI data. Beyond that, the bureau said it received 52% of law enforcement agency crime statistics, and would not release a full analysis of last year’s data.
Meanwhile, out of 1,017 voters surveyed, 66% said they were highly motivated compared to the previous midterm elections. About 26% said they were not motivated at all.
Williams points out that it is based on a variety of things that drive voters to the polls.
“Just because we’re seeing higher levels of excitement or enthusiasm in voters, you can’t draw a straight line to say higher enthusiasm means Republicans will do better,” Williams said. “It just means if you look at the Republicans, they’re really excited about inflation. But if you look at the Democrats, we’re seeing more and more now they’re really passionate about abortion.”
About 30% of Democrats reported abortion as their main problem, still second only to inflation (32.9%).
For the first time, more voters (44.8%) responded that they would vote for a Democratic candidate in their local Congressional election than Republicans (43.7%). With a margin of error of a little over 3%, it remains a tossup.
Among Independents, 41.3% would vote for the Democratic candidate, compared to 30.7% who said they would vote for the GOP.
In the previous poll, 44.9% of all voters said they would vote for the Republican candidate while 42% would vote for the Democrat. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean the Democratic advantage.
“Just because Democrats have an advantage in the general vote, it doesn’t mean they are favored, for example, to keep the House of Representatives,” Williams said.
Decision Desk HQ projects the Democrats have a 63.4% chance of retaining the Senate. Republicans are favored to reclaim the House, with a 78.4% chance.
A majority of voters (54%) surveyed said they disagreed with Democratic President Joe Biden, with 46% agreeing.
This is a slight increase from the previous month when 54% disagreed and 43% approved of the president’s job performance.
“Some of them might be gas prices, some of them might be the Inflation Reduction Act,” Williams said.
It’s a few points higher than REUTERS/Ipsos poll, which shows the President with a 41% approval rating, and 53% disagree. FiveThirtyEight has a presidential approval rating of 42.1%, with 51.9% disagreeing.
By 2024, 60% of Republicans say they want former President Donald Trump to run as the Republican nominee. Among independents, 61% say they don’t want to see it on the ballot. About 84% of Democrats also said they did not want the former president to run.