A top Democratic pollster has warned the party’s elected officials that skyrocketing inflation is affecting key voters ahead of next year’s midterm elections, according to a new report.
Celinda Lake, who worked for Joe Biden’s presidential campaign and still advises the White House, told Axios that the issue of rising prices is gaining prominence in both public polling and focus groups.
“Women voters are really experiencing it, because they’re always more focused on kitchen table economics, microeconomics,” Lake told the outlet, later adding that “the key target vote in the 2022 election is going to be non-college-educated women … because they are the most undecided
Consumer prices are growing at the fastest pace in 13 years as the economy tries to shake off lingering effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Earlier this month, the Labor Department’s latest Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures a basket of goods and services as well as energy and food costs, jumped 5.4 percent between June 2020 and June 2021. That’s the largest 12-month increase in the CPI since a 5.4 percent bump ending in August 2008.
Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Consumer Expectations study found that Americans expect a median inflation rate of 4.8 percent over the next 12 months.
The White House has swung between trying to downplay the issue — most notably in a much-panned tweet alleging Americans would enjoy cheaper July 4th cookouts this year than in 2020 — and claiming that rising prices show the need for passing more than $4 trillion in new spending.
“The vast majority of the experts, including Wall Street, are suggesting that it’s highly unlikely that it’s going to be long-term inflation that’s going to get out of hand,” Biden told a questioner at a CNN town hall event in Cincinnati Wednesday night. “There will be near-term inflation, because everything is now trying to be picked back up.”
“It’s rational, when you think about it,” the president added. “The cost of an automobile is kind of back to what it was before the pandemic.”
An Ipsos poll from earlier this month found that 27 percent of Americans blame inflation on lingering supply chain issues from the pandemic, while a further 20 percent pin responsibility on “businesses raising prices to make up for last year’s losses.” Just 17 percent put the blame on “government policies.”
Despite the White House claim that inflation is a short-term problem, Lake told Axios she has advised Democratic politicians to let voters know that they feel their pain — and have plans to reduce the cost of living.