Seventy-two percent of West Virginia voters support Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-W.Va.) decision to walk away from Democrats’ Build Back Better negotiations over concerns about inflation, according to a new poll obtained first by The Hill.
The survey, conducted by Remington Research Group on behalf of the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors (NAW), a business group that is lobbying lawmakers to abandon the bill, found that 66 percent of voters in key swing states including Nevada and Arizona believe that the $2.2 trillion plan would make inflation worse.
“It’s clear: Americans are feeling the pressure of inflation, and they want Congress to focus on relief — not massive new spending bills that could make inflation worse and stall our economic recovery,” NAW CEO Eric Hoplin said in a statement.
The House in November passed the Build Back Better Act — which would accelerate the nation’s clean energy transition and expand child care and pre-K, among other measures — but Manchin doomed its chances in the 50-50 Senate when he announced his opposition last month.
He recently restarted discussions over the bill and has indicated that he might support a scaled-back plan.
The NAW poll found that 66 percent of swing state voters have seen their finances hurt by higher prices at grocery stores or gas stations. Another 9 in 10 voters said that they were either “somewhat concerned” or “very concerned” about rising costs.
Consumer prices increased 7 percent in December from the same month the previous year, the fastest annual increase in almost four decades.
The poll surveyed voters in Arizona, West Virginia, New Hampshire, Nevada, Colorado and Montana, all of which are home to senators who have either expressed reservations about President Biden’s signature social spending package or face a tough reelection battle this November.
Corporate lobbying groups that oppose the plan over its tax provisions have hit the airwaves with ads warning that it would worsen inflation. Economists have largely predicted that the Build Back Better Act would have minor and brief inflationary impacts but wouldn’t make a big difference on already soaring prices.
NAW’s poll also found that 82 percent of West Virginia voters believe that new social spending programs in Build Back Better should ensure that money goes only to low-income and middle class families. Manchin has taken issue with the fact that the bill’s expanded child tax credit applies to families earning up to $400,000.
The NAW poll surveyed 1,145 likely 2022 general election voters in battleground states between Jan. 19-20 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percentage points.