Voters Think Joe Biden Is Making Inflation Worse, Not Better: Poll

Nearly half of Americans think the actions of President Joe Biden to tackle soaring inflation are making things worse, according to a poll that reflected voters' concerns the Build Back Better plan will push prices even higher.

The findings from the Fox News survey on Wednesday followed November figures showing that annual consumer price inflation in the U.S. rose by 6.8 percent. This was the highest rise in the price of a basket of goods and services since 1982.

It also comes as Democrats try to get the $1.75 trillion social care package across the line amid concerns among Republicans and centrist Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) over the inflationary impact of injecting more federal money into the economy.

The poll by Fox News with Beacon Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R), with a 3 percent margin for error, polled 1,002 respondents across the country between December 11 and 14 on Biden's policies, his popularity and the state of the economy.

The survey showed that higher prices were the main worry for Americans. Some 84 percent of respondents were either extremely or very concerned about inflation—higher than their concerns about crime (77 percent), taxes (71 percent) and the COVID pandemic (68 percent).

With 36 percent of people believing that inflation was the biggest issue facing the economy, two-thirds of respondents (67 percent) said higher prices had caused "financial hardship over the last six months."

Meanwhile, 47 percent of people said Biden's policies to get inflation under control were "hurting," compared with only 22 percent, who said they were "helping." Just over a quarter (28 percent) said his inflation policies made no difference.

The poll found that nearly half (46 percent) of the people questioned believed that the social spending plan, which aims to transform the country's social net and combat climate change, will push inflation higher.

This was also a clear 25 points ahead of the one-fifth (21 percent) of respondents who thought it helped lower inflation. Again, 28 percent said it would make no difference.

Handling of the Economy

The poll also found that Biden had a 38 percent approval rating on his handling of the economy, compared with 59 percent who disapproved. It showed that 47 percent of respondents approved of his performance, a dip of 9 percent since June.

Just over half (51 percent) disapproved of his job performance—up 8 percent in the same period.

Policy experts are divided on what impact the Build Back Better bill would have on inflation, even if the bill would raise revenue through higher taxes on corporations and wealthy households.

If passed, two big tax relief programs would start straight away—the expanded child tax credit and the earned income tax credit.

But while the federal government would spend more than it takes in at first, policy groups suggest there would only be a modest increase in inflation in the short term.

Alex Muresianu, a federal policy analyst at the Tax Foundation said in a blog post last month that Build Back Better "would likely contribute to inflation, but the magnitude of that contribution is unclear."

For comparison, the $1.9 trillion America Rescue Plan that passed in March raised annual inflation through to 2022 by 0.3 percent, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

Democratic pollster Chris Anderson said that the president could benefit from "low expectations," telling Fox News: "If the spending plans start to have positive impacts in people's lives, maybe some will reconsider their view of Biden."

Newsweek has contacted the White House for comment.

Joe Biden
President Joe Biden in the East Room of the White House on December 6, 2021, in Washington, DC. A Fox News poll found that nearly half of people believe that his polices on tackling inflation have made matters worse. Chip Somodevilla/Getty