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Almost all voters are worried about inflation, large numbers continue to rate the economy negatively — and a majority expects things will be worse next year.
The latest Fox News survey also finds both Democrats and Republicans are equally motivated to vote, and that if the midterm election were today, 41% of voters would back the Democratic candidate in their House district and 44% the Republican.
That 3-point edge is unchanged from June and within the poll’s margin of sampling error. However, this is the seventh straight poll since December where the Republicans have been ahead, ranging from one to seven points.
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According to Fox News modeling, a 3-point edge translates into a GOP gain of about 23 seats.
“A 20-plus seat gain would be massive for the Republicans in an era where bipartisan gerrymandering has drastically reduced the number of competitive seats,” says Republican pollster Daron Shaw. “It would be so great to the 1994 midterms when Newt Gingrich’s Contract with America helped the GOP roll up a 54-seat gain.” Shaw conducts the Fox News survey with Democratic counterpart Chris Anderson.
The generic ballot tends to overstate the Democrats’ chances of winning individual House races because it comes from a survey of registered voters across the country, and not from a series of individual Congressional district surveys. Because more districts have been drawn to be overwhelmingly Democratic than overwhelmingly Republican, the Democrats need a higher generic ballot number to expect to win more actual seats.
In other findings, 15% of all voters are undecided or plan to back a third-party candidate for Congress — including 60% of independents. While it is uncertain how they will vote in November, today more than 7 in 10 of both these groups disapprove of the job President Biden is doing.
The president’s job rating hit a low this week, with 40% of voters approving and 59% disapproving. That’s net negative by 19 points. His ratings of him were underwater by 14 points last month and by 8 points in early May. Biden’s best marks were in June 2021, when 56% approved and 43% disapproved.
Four years ago, at this same point in the election cycle, former President Donald Trump’s job rating was underwater by 5 points: 46% approved and 51% disapproved (July 2018).
Biden gets the thumbs-down from record numbers of women, Black voters, moderates, voters under age 30, Democrats, and independents.
And majorities overall disapprove of his issue performance: 73% disapprove on inflation, 68% on the economy, 61% on immigration, 59% on guns, 57% on energy policy, and 55% on handling Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Just 17% rate the economy positively, the lowest in nearly 10 years. Eighty-four percent say it is in only fair or poor shape.
And a 52% majority thinks it will be worse next year. This is the first time in intermittent surveys going back to 1998 that over half have felt the economy will be worse a year from now.
Meanwhile, 52% have changed their summer travel plans because of gas prices, 70% have had to cut back on other spending to afford necessities, and 75% say inflation has caused them financial hardship — up from 67% in December.
Many fault the White House for that. Fifty-five percent say the administration has made the economy worse, and more voters blame Biden (31%) for gas prices than think Russia (20%) or oil companies (14%) are responsible.
“This is a horrendous midterm environment for the Democrats, but the Supreme Court overturning Roe provides an opportunity to mitigate losses by painting Republicans as extremists who are attempting to take away long-standing rights,” says Anderson. “It likely won’t be enough to hold the House, but in some districts, especially those with more independents, it could tip races to Democrats.”
As inflation hit its highest rate since 1981 on Wednesday, there’s little wonder why a large majority, 93%, are extremely or very concerned about rising prices. That’s more than saying the same about higher crime rates (85%), the future of American democracy (83%), gun laws (78%), and abortion policy (70%). Some 69% are concerned about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, while 62% are worried about illegal immigration.
Pandemic concerns are down nearly 20 points since January, with 53% worrying today — the lowest in a year.
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In the last two months, concern increased on the issues of inflation (+6 points), crime (+6), and guns (+5), while it declined on illegal immigration (-9) and the war (-11). Concern over abortion and the future of American democracy held steady.
Voters are more likely to back the Democratic congressional candidate if they are extremely concerned about gun laws (by 15 points), abortion policy (+19), Ukraine (+14), and coronavirus (+23). They prefer the Republican candidate if they are extremely concerned about inflation (by 15 points), crime (+18), and illegal immigration (+45).
Vote preference splits among those highly worried about the future of democracy: 46% favor the Democrat, 44% the Republican.
The generic Democratic candidate is ahead among Black voters, Hispanic voters, moderates, and suburban women, while the generic Republican is preferred among White voters, men, voters over age 45, and Whites without a college degree.
More voters think the Republican Party has a clear plan for dealing with the country’s problems while more say the Democratic Party cares about people like them.
But the sad takeaway is majorities don’t think either party has a plan to address the nation’s woes — or cares about their problems.
Over half, 54%, say the Republican Party doesn’t have a clear plan and 62% say the same about the Democratic Party.
Similarly, 53% think the Democratic Party doesn’t care about people like them, while 58% feel that way about the GOP.
Comparable numbers of Democrats (66%) and Republicans (70%) think their party has a plan, but more Republicans (23%) than Democrats (15%) feel their party lacks empathy.
Two-thirds of Democrats and Republicans (67% each) are “extremely motivated” to vote in the November election, and party loyalty is about equal as well, as about 9 in 10 Democrats and Republicans favor their party’s candidate.
Voters are uninterested in a 2020 election mulligan.
Only about 3 voters in 10 want Biden to run for president again in 2024, while nearly 4 in 10 want Trump to run again. More Republicans (67%) want Trump to run than Democrats (51%) want Biden in the race. More than double the number of independents want Trump to run (34% vs. 14% for Biden).
At the end of last year, voters said the breakdown of moral values and weaker criminal penalties were the top reasons behind rising crime rates across the country. The largest number, 24%, now blames the availability of guns, up from 13% in December. That’s closely followed by breakdown of values (21%), weaker penalties (16%), and more mental health issues (13%).
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About the same number of Democrats, Republicans, and independents support establishing term limits for Congress. All in all, 81% of voters favor the idea. Fewer, but still sizable majorities, want a mandatory retirement age for Supreme Court justices (71%) or favor an 18-year term limit for justices (66%).
Thirty-nine percent of voters approve of the job Vice President Kamala Harris is doing, while 58% disapprove — her worst marks to date.
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Conducted July 10-13, 2022 under the joint direction of Beacon Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R), this Fox News Poll includes interviews with 1,001 registered voters nationwide who were randomly selected from a national voter file and spoke with live interviewers on both landlines and cellphones. The total sample has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.
Fox News’ Victoria Balara contributed to this report.