Categories: Economic News

On voting in the US midterms: Economy | Economy and Business News

Nathan Rojas, 23, lives in Georgia, United States, and drives from his parents’ house to work every day. Rising gas prices this year have made their commute a struggle.

“Not everyone can work from home,” Rojas said. “Gas is not a privilege, it’s a necessity.”

At the grocery store, Rojas said her family buys half the meat they did a year ago because food prices have risen so much.

Rojas voted early Wednesday at the Putnam County Board of Elections in Eatonton, Ga., which residents in his county can cast between Oct. 17 and Nov. 4. He said he switched from the candidate his sister advised him to vote for to one he believed could help. temper inflation and cut taxes for the less wealthy.

Crucial US midterm elections on November 8, when voters decide whether Democrats or Republicans will control the US House of Representatives or the US Senate, come at a time when inflation in the country is soaring . The Federal Reserve has raised interest rates to the highest levels since early 2008, making the economy a pressing polling issue along with vital concerns such as women’s reproductive rights and access to the vote.

A Pew Research poll conducted in mid-October found that the economy is the starting point for 79 percent of voters. Among these respondents, Republicans outnumbered Democrats. The cost of food, gas and housing, respectively, are the top three economic issues of concern, according to respondents.

The effect of rising grocery prices can be seen in food pantries, according to Alicia Harrison, program director of MEND, an interfaith network of 22 food pantries in Essex County, New Jersey.

“There continues to be a tremendous amount of need,” Harrison said. “Not only have pantries not seen a decrease, they’ve actually seen an increase over the last few months. They’re seeing new customers every week.”

He attributed that increase to people having depleted their financial savings since the pandemic and the end of the eviction moratorium that had been put in place during the pandemic, as well as rising prices. “For many of these people, every incremental increase means they have to decide what they’re buying. It’s a big struggle.”

Food prices in the United States rose 11.4 percent between August 2021 and August 2022, according to data from the latest consumer price index from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

According to economic data released on October 27 by the Commerce Department, the US economy grew in the third quarter after two quarters of contraction. Growth was driven by consumer and government spending, both federal and state, as well as local, according to the data.

Vote for a “democracy that works”

But for many American voters, the economy cannot take precedence over other pressing social issues. According to the same Pew Research poll, nearly 70 percent of respondents said “the future of democracy in the country” was their overriding concern, and more of them voted for a Democratic candidate than a Republican.

That includes corporate communications executive Morgan Baden of Maplewood, New Jersey. “The economy absolutely does not matter when democracy itself is on the ballot,” said Baden, who is also a young author. “Like most people, inflation worries me and I see the price difference and the corresponding supply chain issues every day. But this is the case all over the world, not just in the US, and it’s a shame that certain politicians are trying to blame the current administration for something that is clearly a global problem. I hope the American voters can see that.”

For many immigrant voters, how candidates talk about immigrant communities and plan to support them is vital.

Basma Alawee, 36, of Jacksonville, Fla., said she will vote only for local candidates who recognize the value of immigrant workers in an area where many hiring managers say they can’t find applicants. “We haven’t seen good local policy to remove barriers when immigrants apply for jobs,” Alawee said.

Laila Martin, 36, of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, said she is “looking for champions” of the immigrant community when she votes. Martin recently became a US citizen and this is his first time voting here.

A CBS News Battleground Tracker poll found that 63 percent of those who plan to vote Democratic believe “a functioning democracy” is a bigger concern than “a strong economy,” compared to 29 percent of those who ‘lean Republican. Conversely, 70% of likely Republican voters support a strong economy over a functioning democracy, compared to 29% of likely Democratic voters.

Democratic reporter and commentator Terry Blount he said on Twitter that “people who voted for the economy were always going to vote” but that the midterms would see many first-time voters worried about “their rights … being taken away.” Blount suggested that Roe v Wade, gun violence and Medicare were more concerns for new voters than the economy.

A survey of 1,000 black voters by KFF/TheGrio found that 28 percent who said they were more likely to vote in the 2022 midterms than in previous elections were motivated by a desire to vote Republicans out of the position Nearly three-quarters of respondents said the economy would drive their votes in the midterms, with 81 percent saying they felt the economy was stacked against blacks.

Glynda Carr, the co-founder and president of Higher Heights for America, a PAC that supports black women running for political office, he wrote on Twitter“While we know the economy weighs heavily on the minds of black voters this midterm, we know the economy cannot be divorced from key issues like voting rights and criminal justice reform.”

Student loans, not avocado toast

Another poll, conducted by the left-leaning think tank Data for Progress, found that President Joe Biden’s student debt relief plan was motivating people to vote, with 46 percent of voters saying they were more likely to vote because of the plan. 52% of Democrats and 49% of Republicans said they were more likely to vote in the midterms because of the student debt relief plan.

Meanwhile, two-thirds of college students surveyed by online learning platform Course Hero said inflation was driving their vote. Sixty-six percent of those who planned to vote for Democrats said student loan forgiveness, as well as the cost of college and student loans, would influence their vote, while inflation and the rising cost of rent, gas and groceries were a driving force for the 73. percent of Republican students.

Jackie Smith, 25, of Sacramento, Calif., said that contrary to what older generations believe, it’s not Starbucks and avocado toast that keeps her bank balance low. Smith took out $60,000 in student loans to attend graduate school after receiving a full-ride scholarship to his undergraduate college. “I will definitely vote for candidates who understand that this is an issue,” he said. Her graduate degree allowed her to get a better job, but she said the debt will make it “very difficult to buy a house, get married, [or] make some long-term financial decisions like having children”.

Nejra Sumic, 35, of Phoenix, Arizona, said she is voting for local and state candidates who support Proposition 308, which would allow undocumented immigrants to pay the same in-state tuition at Arizona universities as students who they are citizens

“These semesters can make or break the next generation of college students,” Smith said.


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