It’s the economy, stupid … all over again. 

Americans hobbled by the twin effects of the highest inflation rates in 40 years and an economy that is veering into a recession underscore them as the top issues confronting the country less than a month before the midterm elections, a new poll finds.

Forty-four percent of likely voters say the economy and inflation, combined (26% for the economy and 18% for inflation or cost of living) are their top two concerns — including 58% of Republicans, 34% of Democrats and 40% of independents, ​The New York Times/Siena College survey​ found.

That’s a 9 percentage point jump overall from the same poll in July when 35% picked those issues, as did 23% of Democrats, 55% of Republicans and 33% of independents. 

That 44% also intend by a 2-to-1 margin to vote for GOP candidates, the poll shows.

​The increased importance on economic issues weeks away from the Nov. 8 elections when control of Congress is at stake favors Republican candidates – and reemphasizes the significance of Clinton adviser James Carville’s 1992 campaign mantra “It’s the economy, stupid.”

Poll describing top voter issues.
Americans affected by the highest inflation rates in 40 years and an economy that is veering into a recession rank them as top issues.
New York Times / Siena College p

Nearly half of likely voters – 49% – indicate they would vote for a GOP congressional candidate compared to 45% who planned on pulling the lever for a Democrat — a three-point lead when adjusted for mathematical rounding – if congressional elections were held today.

The shift in sentiment erased a 2-point edge the Democrats had over Republicans in September.

The numbers behind abortion, which Democrats thought would become an animating factor for voters after the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade in June, have hardly budged. 

A voting ballot
Almost half of voters polled would likely vote for a GOP candidate.
Getty Images/Tetra images RF

In the July poll, 5% of voters selected abortion as a top issue, including 10% of Democrats. 

The latest survey shows abortion still at 5% overall, but down 2 points among Democrats. 

But Democrats may find some hope in the polls in the number of people who say the country is on the wrong track.

In July, 77% said the US was going in the wrong direction, compared to 64% in October. 

But President Biden’s ratings have remained the same over that time – 58% unfavorable, 39% favorable. 



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