Economy, abortion top voters’ concerns heading into midterms: survey

Voters are split on which party should control Congress after this fall’s elections, but most agree that the economy and abortion rights will be the top issues on their minds when they head to the polls, according to a new survey.

A survey from Monmouth University Poll released Thursday found that after health care registered as the top concern for 28 percent of voters in the 2018 midterm cycle, priorities have shifted dramatically, with just 16 percent of respondents saying the same for this year.

The poll found 26 percent of respondents identified the economy as their top concern when asked to choose the single most important issue among six policy options, and 26 percent cited abortion heading into the 2022 election cycle.

“Congressional party preference hasn’t moved a lot this year, but the issue picture may be coming into focus with the economy and abortion as the top considerations right now,” Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute, said in a news release on the findings.

Compared to a Monmouth pre-midterm election poll taken in August 2018, immigration, gun control and tax policy are nominally less important than they were last cycle.

Just 15 percent of the people surveyed approve of the job Congress is currently doing, down from 21 percent in March, as inflation and supply chain issues have had a harder hit on pocketbooks. Congress’s disapproval rate has hit 77 percent, the poll found.

The shifts in policy importance took on a partisan tinge, Monmouth pollsters note in their analysis of the findings.

“For example, the drop in immigration policy’s importance since the last midterm is driven mainly by Democrats (23 percent extremely important, down from 37 percent in 2018) while the drop in health care policy’s importance is driven mainly by Republicans (18 percent, down from 37 percent),” they wrote.

Democrats surveyed indicated an uptick in those who view abortion rights identified as a top priority, as the Supreme Court weighs a potentially seismic case from Mississippi that would ultimately nullify the court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling.

A draft opinion of the court’s ruling anticipated this summer showed the conservative majority of justices sided with upending the decades-old ruling that guarantees the right to abortion and has been used to knock down restrictive laws in conservative states that have sought to limit access.

The court has confirmed the authenticity of the draft opinion, first reported and published by Politico, that was written by Justice Samuel Alito.

Monmouth’s poll found 48 percent of Democrats surveyed said a candidate’s position on abortion is extremely important to their vote — up from 31 percent who did in 2018.

But the issue has dropped in importance for Republicans, where 29 percent of those surveyed said abortion was an extremely important factor when they vote, compared to 36 percent four years ago.

The shifting priorities found that in the congressional vote, abortion compared to the 2018 survey has gone up by 6 points among women, with 43 percent pointing to it as extremely important now, and by 3 points among men, at 27 percent now.

Economic policy has seen little change in voters’ priority rankings in the past four years, despite the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the supply chain, as well as Russia’s war on Ukraine’s impact on the food supply.

The Monmouth University Poll survey was conducted by telephone from May 5-9. It surveyed 807 adults in the United States and has a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.

Tags 2022 midterms 2022 midterms abortion Abortion Economy economy Joe Biden Monmouth University Monmouth University poll Patrick Murray Polling Roe v. Wade
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