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Independents, Hispanics, parents turn on Biden in battleground states over crushing inflation
Manzanita Miller
Manzanita Miller

Despite President Joe Biden’s best efforts to paint a rosy economic picture nine months out from the general election, Americans largely blame his administration for crippling inflation and stagnant wages. New polling shows Hispanics, independents and parents/homemakers in battleground states are particularly critical of the Biden economy and declare they were better off under Trump by wide double digits.

According to CNN, Biden is mystified by the public’s bleak view of the economy and has been asking his advisors why public perception remains so low when it comes to his economic record. The latest CNN poll shows Americans say 55% to 26% that Biden’s policies have weakened the economy, and his approval rating on handling the economy sits at a low of 37%.

While the Biden Administration has touted moderate job growth in recent months, Americans continue to point the finger at crushing inflation. The consumer price index has increased 17.6 percent since Biden took office according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and wages have failed to keep up. Wages have risen a mere 15 percent during Biden’s term, less than half what they rose under Trump.

Under the Trump Administration personal income rose 33.5 percent between Jan. 2017 and Jan. 2021, and inflation rose just 7.8 percent. Americans had more income to spend, and more to save, and that fact is at the heart of the public’s supposed “disconnect” when it comes to accepting the White House’s rosy economic message.  

In swing states, the reality of a decline in the standard of living under the Biden Administration is undeniable. A detailed February Morning Consult poll of battleground states shows that voters look back fondly on the Trump economy, and believe their lives have worsened since Biden took control.

Americans say by 21 points – 51% to 30% – their financial situation was better under Trump than Biden according to the poll. Independents are some of Biden’s harshest critics. Women who don’t lean toward either party and self-identify as independents say their financial situation was better under Trump by 27 points – 49% to 22%.  Men say so by 28 points – 51% to 23%. Moderates also believe they were better off under Trump, saying so by 11 points – 43% to 32%.  

Parents are one of the hardest hit groups when it comes to their current financial situation, saying by a 30-point margin – 56% to 26% – they were better off under the Trump economy. Homemakers who presumably do most of the shopping for their households strongly assert their financial situations were better under Trump. Homemakers say by a vast 47-point margin – 65% to 18% – their families were better off under Trump.

The poll also shows Hispanics and Whites are nearly identical in their views of the economy now compared to the economy during the Trump Administration. There is a negligible difference between how Hispanics and Whites view their financial situation under Trump – both groups assert they were better off under Trump by double-digits. Whites say by a 30-point margin – 56% to 26% – they were better off under Trump, and Hispanics say so by a 24-point margin, 55% to 31%.

Americans also say by a 23-point margin – 54% to 31% – they trust Trump more than Biden to handle the economy going forward. Whites and Hispanics trust Trump to handle the economy over Biden by nearly the same margins – 27 points for Whites and 25 points for Hispanics.

While a plurality of blacks trust Biden to handle the economy more than Trump, a full quarter – 25% – trust Trump more. Independent men trust Trump to handle the economy over Biden by 26 points, and independent women trust Trump more by 21 points. Once again, homemakers trust Trump to handle the economy by the widest margin – 44 percentage points.    

Biden may be wondering why there is a “disconnect” between the message his reelection campaign is running with and public perception, but Americans are looking at the numbers. By verifiable metrics, the American people had more discretionary income under Trump as consumer prices were significantly lower and wages were higher relative to inflation.

Swing voters, including Hispanics and independents, are some of Biden’s harshest critics, as are parents and homemakers attempting to make ends meet with children in the picture. Without acknowledging the struggle Americans are facing due in no small part to his own economic policies, Biden will have a difficult time bridging the “disconnect.” 

— Manzanita Miller is an associate analyst at Americans for Limited Government Foundation.