Biden stumps on job growth, as voters dread inflation

With 10.3 million jobs gained in his tenure, President Joe Biden has a remarkable record of job creation. However, Tuesday’s midterm elections will see voters focusing more on inflation which is hovering at 40-year highs.
The president is now trying to convince the public that job gains are good news, even as the fear of recession grows.
The Presidents have believed for a long time that voters would reward them with strong economic growth. However, inflation has added to the already difficult likelihood of Democrats retaining control of both the House and Senate.
As the Federal Reserve raises its benchmark interest rates repeatedly to reduce inflation and increase unemployment, economic anxieties have grown. As the world prepares for a downturn, mortgage costs have risen and the S&P 500 stock market index has fallen more than 20%.
Biden asks voters to see beyond the financial woes and focus on the job growth he believes his policies have facilitated. Friday’s government report showed that 261,000 employers created jobs in October, while the unemployment rate climbed to 3.7%.
Since the beginning of Biden’s presidency in 2009, approximately 740,000 new manufacturing jobs were created. This figure is expected to rise because of the President’s funding for infrastructure projects, computer chips production, and switching to renewable energy sources.
Biden stated in a Friday speech that “America is reasserting its self — it’s as easy as it is,” We also know that inflation is still a problem. It is our top priority.”
The president warns that a Republican majority could increase inflation by trying to repeal his programs and treat federal debt payments as a bargaining tool rather than an obligation to honor.
The challenge for him is that the party at power faces skeptical voters in the U.S. midterms, and inflation looms larger than job growth.
Kristen Soltis Anderson, a pollster, stated that “if you have a job it is little comfort to know the job market is healthy.” “Inflation is so poisonous because voters are reminded daily that inflation is a problem they are facing every time they spend money.
Biden is trying to quell fears that inflation is driving the country into recession. His main indicator of the economy’s resilience has been the steady job growth.
In anticipation of the new jobs report, White House press secretary Karine Jean Pierre stated that “as we view the economy as a whole we don’t see it going into recession.”
Biden and Democrats were already in a disadvantage going into the election. Midterm voters tend to favor the party that is not in the White House, which gives Republicans an advantage. Ray Fair, a Yale University economist, predicted that Democrats would receive just 46.4% in national votes based on past elections. This was largely due to Biden being in the Oval Office.
Fair’s analysis shows that inflation has effectively erased the political boost Democrats could have received from strong economic growth in three quarters of 2021. Even though the economy is top-of-mind for many voters, the conflicting forces that are past growth and high inflation cancel each other.
Fair concluded that this means that the Democrats’ vote share is roughly the same as the historical trend.
Inflation is a problem for a president trying to project optimism while he travels the country to prepare for the election. Social psychology and behavioral economics research generally show that people tend to focus on the negatives, and can block out positives.
Matthew Incantalupo (a political scientist at Yeshiva University) stated that people pay more attention to bad news than good news, and are more likely retain and recall bad information.
Incantalupo’s research examines how voters absorb economic information. He said that voters tend to view jobs as a personal problem when unemployment is low. This is in contrast to a systemic issue involving government policies. However, most people view inflation as a social problem that is beyond the control of any individual, except if they happen to be running the Fed.
Incantalupo stated that everyone feels it when it is high. There is no way to prevent it. “Voters will look to the government for solutions under such circumstances. In many cases, that will lead to them punishing incumbents even if there is positive news about the economy.”
Republican candidates specifically stated that Biden’s $1.9 trillion Coronavirus Relief Package last year overheated America, leading to price rises and job gains. They also claimed that the pandemic had receded. They also suggested that Biden should have relaxed restrictions on oil production to increase domestic output, and lower gasoline prices.
Kevin McCarthy, the House Republican leader and potential speaker of the House if Republicans win a majority in the House, has attacked Biden over high prices. Biden warned that Republicans who ignore the outcome of 2020’s election are a threat, but the California congressman said that the only thing that matters to voters is the cost of gasoline and groceries.
McCarthy tweeted this week that President Biden was trying to divide America and deflect at an time when America needs unity — because he cannot talk about his policies which have driven up living costs. “The American people don’t buy it.”
Inflation is not a domestic problem. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine resulted in rising food and energy costs. This flipped the global economic dynamics, as inflation rose faster than those countries that have less aggressive coronavirus relief. The euro zone’s annual inflation is at an all-time high of 10.7%. This is much higher than the 8.2% recorded in the U.S.
China’s growth is slowing, world trade is slipping, and the Saudi Arabia-led OPEC+ lowered oil production to support prices. The Fed raising rates to lower inflation in the US has caused the dollar to gain value, and it is now exporting higher prices to the rest the world.
The U.S. voter is now in a curious situation, not only are they not blaming President Obama for inflation but also disapprove of his economic leadership.
This split was captured in an October poll by APNORC Center for Public Affairs. More than half of voters believe that prices are rising because of outside factors. Only 36% of voters approve of Biden’s economic leadership.