GOP holds big leads on key economic issues ahead of the November elections, CNBC survey shows

CNBC All-America Economic Survey’s third quarter finds modest improvement in economic attitudes across the country and President Joe Biden’s approval ratings. However, Americans have a generally negative view of the economy and give the GOP double-digit lead on key economic issues before the November election.

Biden’s overall approval rating has improved by 10 points since the July survey, with 46% disapproving and half disapproving. The approval rating for Biden’s economic handling also increased 10 points. 40% of those surveyed approved and 56% disapproved. They were the president’s highest numbers since 2021 but the improvement was largely due to increased Democratic support. At 25%, the approval rating of the economy by independents remained the same as the previous poll.
The Americans’ perceptions of the current economic state have improved 5 points over the previous survey, but they still remain low. Only 16% of Americans say that the economy is good or excellent, a decrease from 11% in July. 83% consider the economy fair to poor, which marks the third consecutive survey with a higher percentage than 80.

The outlook shows that 27% of respondents expect the economy will improve over the next year. This is up from 22% in July. 45%, however, anticipate it getting worse. This is down from 52% in August. The survey’s 14-year history shows that 45% of respondents believe the economy will decline. This is the third most pessimistic result.

Republicans hold a 2 point advantage (48%-46%) in party preference to control Congress. This is a tie with the poll’s +/-3.5% margin of error. However, Democrats have historically had significant leads in this question when they won congressional seats. This gap is unchanged from the previous survey which was 44%-42%.


Hart Research conducted the poll of 800 registered voters across the country between Oct. 13-16. They were the Democratic pollsters and Public Opinion Strategies the Republican pollsters.

GOP leads

Republicans lead by a double-digit margin in the question of which party is better at reducing inflation, managing taxes, and creating jobs. CNBC’s Democratic-Republican pollsters agree that the economic numbers are similar to 2014, when the GOP took control of both the House and the Senate.

Micah Roberts, partner with Public Opinion Strategies, stated that “we tested a variety of economic issues and Republicans just kinda ran the table all except for the cost of healthcare.” This election would not be about the economy if it was.
On the question of which party is most effective to control inflation, Republicans hold a 15-point advantage, 42 to 27 percent. They are ahead 40-29% in tax policy, 36% to 25% in deficit reduction, and 43-33% in creating jobs. The Democrats hold a 4-point advantage, 42% to 38% on “looking outfor the middle class,” which is down from their 12-point lead in 2018. They hold a dominant 44-28% lead on who is the best party to lower health-care expenses.

Jay Campbell, Hart Research partner, stated that “the way things are moving overall, and the way things appear, it’s definitely an uphill climb” for Democrats and perhaps slightly downwards for Republicans.

Also, the poll found:

43% of Americans believe that higher interest rates have negatively affected their financial situation. 47% claim they’ve been hit by the stock market drop; 77% claim inflation has hampered them financially.
Only 32% of respondents believe that their home will rise in the following year, which is the lowest level since 2011. 23%, however, believe that their home will fall in the year ahead, which is the highest level since 2011.
The stock market’s views remain negative, just one point higher than the worst levels ever recorded in the survey. Only 28% of respondents said it was a good time for investing in the stock exchange.
68% believe the U.S. will soon enter a recession. 9% think we are already in one.
One bit of economic good news: 41% believe that their wages will increase in the coming year, which is the highest level since the pandemic.
Inflation is the number one concern. The No. 1 concern for all Americans, however there are significant differences between parties. The No. 1 concern is “Threats against democracy.” For Democrats, “Threats to democracy” is the number one issue, while for Republicans, “immigration & border security” is at the top, just one point behind inflation. Inflation is the main concern for independents. The No. 1 concern is crime. The No. 3 issue is for GOP voters, while the third and fourth place spots are for Democrats. Neither the war in Ukraine nor jobs and unemployment are seen as the top issues at the moment by either party or the independents.
Americans are less confident in the Federal Reserve than Republicans and Democrats in Congress. Only 15% of Americans say they trust the Fed, as opposed to 22% for Republicans or 21% for Democrats.
53% of Americans believe that the Fed’s efforts in reducing inflation by increasing interest rates will succeed. Americans are divided on the issue of central bank’s dual mandate. Do they want to protect jobs or inflate? 47% believe it is more important to fight inflation than protect jobs, while 43% feel that the fight against inflation should be taken first.