Threats to democracy clocked in as the most important issue facing the country for a plurality of registered voters, according to an NBC News poll.
The poll found that 21 percent of respondents ranked threats to democracy as the most important issue, followed by 16 percent who indicated the cost of living and 14 percent who said jobs and the economy.
When respondents were asked to choose their top two issues, threats to democracy tied with cost of living as a top concern for 29 percent of respondents. Jobs and the economy clocked in at 28 percent, followed by immigration and climate change.
The new poll was conducted days after the FBI searched former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate earlier this month as part of its investigation into the former president’s handling of classified documents. A now-unsealed property receipt reveals agents seized 33 items from the Florida resort, including 11 sets of classified items. Court documents show Trump is being investigated for potential violations of the Espionage Act and other federal statutes.
The poll also comes weeks after the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol concluded a series of public hearings. The hearings attempted to tie Trump and his allies to the insurrection, detailing their post-election efforts to create slates of fake electors and promote unfounded claims of election fraud.
In May, the cost of living as well as jobs and the economy ranked as the top two issues when the question was asked, although threats to democracy was not one of the polled issues.
Annual inflation in July fell to 8.5 percent, easing from previous months but still close to the 40-year high of 9.1 percent in June. The drop was largely driven by falling gas prices, which have continued to decline to an average price of $3.90 for a gallon of gas as of Monday, according to AAA. Prices briefly surpassed $5 per gallon in June, setting all-time records.
Democrats, facing historical and political headwinds, are hoping the investigation related to the Mar-a-Lago search, a string of recent legislative victories and anger following the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade can avoid a shellacking for the party in November.
Despite the recent glimmer of hope, President Biden’s approval rating remains underwater, according to the poll. Forty-two percent of respondents in the new survey approved of his performance as president, compared to 55 percent who disapproved.
The poll was conducted Aug. 12-16 through interviews with 1,000 registered voters. The margin of error is 3.1 percentage points.