AP Poll: Economy, Inflation Americans’ Top Concerns, COVID-19 Takes Back Seat As Midterms Approach

(PatriotWise.com)- Politicians need to take notice: Americans are now more concerned with issues such as the economy than they are directly about the COVID-19 pandemic.

While those two issues are in many ways connected, it seems that the pandemic itself is taking a back seat in people’s minds as the midterm elections are looming later this year.

A new poll released by the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and the Associated Press, only 37% of voters said the COVID-19 pandemic was one of their top five priorities that they want the government to address this year. That’s a steep decrease from the 53% of people who said it was a top priority at the beginning of last year.

The poll also found that 68% of people said the economy was a top priority of theirs for this year. That’s roughly the same response as last year for the economy, though people are much more concerned about inflation now (14%) than they were last year (1%).

Another related area of concern is the rising cost of living, which 24% of respondents said is a top priority for them, compared to only 12% who said that last year.

Notes from the poll said that it was conducted in mid-December, before the Omicron variant fully began sweeping the country. That being said, follow-up interviews with respondents showed that the time that has passed since the initial interviews didn’t change their views on the pandemic.

In fact, many people said they are now more optimistic about the outlook of the pandemic as the Omicron variant has proven to be less severe than some of the other variants — even if it is more transmissible.

According to the AP, the fact that the economy is now a much bigger priority for Americans than concerns around COVID-19 means the Biden administration will have a tough challenge ahead.

As President Joe Biden entered the White House, he promised to “shut down” the pandemic. With it seemingly going nowhere anytime soon, though, it has “undermined the new president’s message.

Many of Biden’s top advisors have begun to urge the president to start switching his messaging from stamping out the pandemic to learning to live with the virus. Reports to that tune emerged after Biden said at a conference of the National Governors Association that “there is no federal solution” available for the pandemic.

Many Americans are losing faith in the Biden administration’s ability to handle the pandemic. A FiveThirtyEight report showed that only 46.6% of Americans approve of the way the White House has handled the pandemic, compared with 45.5% who disapprove of it.

In addition, a poll from Fox Business revealed that Americans have “low expectations” of the president’s ability to run the economy effectively.

As Chris Anderson, a Democratic pollster, explained:

“One thing the president has going for him is low expectations. If the spending plans start to have positive impacts in people’s lives, maybe some will reconsider their view of Biden.”