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Exit polls showing voters indeed have inflation on mind, 'angry' with direction of country

Economy is paramount in many voters' decisions as rising prices continue to wreak havoc on budgets.

Published: November 8, 2022 6:12pm

Updated: November 8, 2022 7:58pm

Voters in the 2022 midterms expressed overwhelmingly gloomy outlooks on the state of the American economy and America more broadly this year, with considerable margins citing inflation as their top concern as they cast their ballot on Tuesday, according to exit polling.

Roughly 33% of voters "called inflation the most important issue to their vote," CNN reported on Tuesday evening, citing exit poll data conducted by Edison Research for both the cable news network and other outlets. 

Abortion came in at a close second as the top issue in about 27% of voters' responses, the network said.

"About 46% of voters in this election say that their family’s financial situation had worsened over the past two years," while "only about 1 in 5 said it had improved," the data showed. 

The Associated Press VoteCast showed similar voter sentiment on Tuesday evening. The news wire said its exit poll data indicated that "half of voters [said] inflation factored significantly in their vote," with "a third of voters describ[ing] their families as falling behind financially," a figure that comes in at "nearly double the percentage of the electorate that said the same two years ago."

The responses demonstrate the dire straits that the Democratic party finds itself in as the economy continues to perform poorly under the Biden administration.

Skyrocketing gas, grocery and consumer good prices have generated considerable backlash against both the White House and Democrats more broadly, with the midterms being projected as a referendum on the Biden administration's response to both the COVID crisis and the resultant economic fallout. 

Getting food on the table appears paramount in many voters' minds. The AP said that "about half of voters name groceries and other food costs as the significant consideration," considerably more than "gas, housing and health care expenses."

CNN, meanwhile claimed that "more than three-quarters of voters" said that "inflation has caused hardship for them and their family over the past year," with a fifth of voters claiming it has generated "severe hardship." 

Exit data from CBS News, meanwhile, showed broad unhappiness with the overall state of the country: White House correspondent Steven Portnoy on Tuesday evening posted a rundown on Twitter of the network's exit polling that showed nearly 75% of voters were "angry" or "dissatisfied" with the direction in which the U.S. is headed. 

Just over half of respondents in those polls, meanwhile, said the Republican party was more trustworthy when it came to "handling inflation."

And in a notable indication of the public's sentiment about Democratic-embraced theories on "gender identity" and LGBTQ ideology, fully half of exit poll respondents said "society's values on gender identity and sexual orientation" are "changing for the worse." 

Some analysts had predicted that the Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade earlier this year would factor heavily into voters' decisions in the midterms, though exit polling indicates it loomed far less largely in voters' minds than inflation and living expenses. 

Just 25% of voters indicated that the Roe repeal was the "single most important factor" in their voting decisions, the AP's data show, compared to 50% of voters citing inflation. 

Just under 30% of voters, meanwhile, said the Roe decision was a "minor" factor or a non-factor in their decision, compared to 8% of voters saying the same thing about inflation. 

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