Voters Concerned Trillions in Domestic Spending Will Fuel Inflation, Polls Show

Inflation threatens Biden’s credibility on economics as he attempts to pivot to domestic issues

President Joe Biden on Aug. 25 / Getty Images
September 8, 2021

President Joe Biden is working to pivot away from the Afghanistan crisis to focus on his domestic agenda, but polling suggests American voters are sensing a looming economic crisis.

Ninety percent of registered voters reported paying more for goods they regularly purchase, according to a survey of 1,200 people commissioned by Heritage Action, a conservative group. Only 29 percent said their personal finances are better off today than they were a year ago, and 65 percent believe that Biden’s multitrillion-dollar plan will worsen inflation.

The Biden administration has made a concerted effort to pivot to domestic policies this week. The White House press briefing on Wednesday opened with a discussion of plans to tackle inflation and an explanation by Biden's top economic aide Brian Deese that the spike in grocery prices was overblown. The administration also released a plan that it said will alleviate the rising costs of meat, which it believes is driving inflation concerns.

Biden's pivot to domestic issues comes in the wake of the administration’s bungled withdrawal from Afghanistan, which left hundreds of Americans—including dozens of elementary school students—stranded. Polling suggests, however, that prioritizing trillions of dollars in social spending is already unpopular with voters, who fear it will exacerbate inflation even further.

The Heritage Action poll is one of many showing Biden faces headwinds as he seeks to pivot to his multitrillion-dollar Build Back Better agenda.

The American Action Network, a conservative outside group closely aligned with House Republicans, also polled seven swing House districts held by Democrats and found that Biden’s personal image and political agenda are deeply unpopular.

Across the seven districts, AAN found that Biden’s job approval is 43 percent. The swing-district Democrats they polled, including Reps. Elissa Slotkin (D., Mich.) and Josh Harder (D., Calif.), "are all hovering at or near 45 percent in a head-to-head congressional ballot."

The Biden administration also faces political challenges advancing the president's domestic agenda through Congress. Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) this week repeated his opposition to Biden’s proposed $3.5 trillion in social spending, and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), who crafted the spending plan, indicated there would be no flexibility on the overall price tag.

Voters polled by AAN across the seven districts opposed the spending plan by a 54 percent to 36 percent margin.