On the U.S. Midterm Ballot: Economy | Business and Economy News

Nathan Rojas, 23, lives in Georgia, USA, and drives daily from his parents’ house to work. Rising gas prices this year have made his journey difficult.

“Not everyone can work from home,” Rojas said. “Gas is not a privilege, it’s a necessity.”

At the grocery store, Rojas said his family is buying half the meat than a year ago because food prices have risen so much.

Rojas cast his ballot early Wednesday at the Putnam County Board of Elections in Eatonton, Ga., which residents of his county can do between Oct. 17 and Nov. 4. He said he went from the candidate his sister advised him to vote for to one he thought could help temper inflation and cut taxes for the less wealthy.

The crucial midterm elections scheduled for the United States on November 8 – when voters will decide whether Democrats or Republicans will control the House of Representatives or the US Senate – come at a time when inflation in the country is rampant. The Federal Reserve has raised interest rates to the highest levels since early 2008, making the economy a pressing issue in the polls alongside vital concerns such as women’s reproductive rights and access to the vote. .

A Pew Research Poll conducted in mid-October determined that the economy is the priority of 79% of voters. Of those respondents, Republicans outnumbered Democrats. The cost of food, gas and housing, respectively, are the top three economic issues of concern, according to survey respondents.

According to Alicia Harrison, program director for MEND, an interfaith network of 22 food pantries in Essex County, New Jersey, the effect of rising grocery prices can be seen in food pantries.

“There continues to be a huge need,” Harrison said. “Not only have food pantries not seen a decrease, they have actually seen an increase over the past few months. They see new clients every week.

She attributed the increase to people who had exhausted their financial savings since the pandemic and the end of the eviction moratorium that had been put in place during the pandemic, as well as to rising prices. “For many of these people, each incremental increase means they have to decide what to buy. It’s a big fight. »

Food prices in the United States rose 11.4% between August 2021 and August 2022, according to data from the latest Consumer Price Index from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

According to economic data released on October 27 by the Commerce Department, the US economy grew in the third quarter after two quarters of contraction. According to the data, the growth was fueled by consumer and government spending, both federal and state and local.

Vote for a “democracy that works”

But for many American voters, the economy cannot take precedence over other pressing social issues. According to the same Pew Research poll, nearly 70% of respondents said that “the future of democracy in the country” was their top concern and that more of them voted for a Democratic candidate rather than a Republican.

That includes director of corporate communications Morgan Baden of Maplewood, New Jersey. “The economy is absolutely irrelevant when democracy itself is on the ballot,” said Baden, who is also a young adult author. “Like most people, inflation is a concern for me and I see the difference in price and corresponding supply chain issues every day. But that’s the case all over the world, not just in the United States. United, and it’s a shame that some politicians are trying to blame the current administration for something that is clearly a global problem. I hope American voters can see through that.

For many immigrant voters, how candidates speak to — and plan to support — immigrant communities is key.

Basma Alawee, 36, of Jacksonville, Fla., said she would only vote for local candidates who recognize the value of immigrant workers in an area where many hiring managers say they can’t find candidates. “We haven’t seen good local policy to remove barriers when immigrants apply for jobs,” Alawee said.

Laila Martin, 36, a resident of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, said she “looks for champions” in the immigrant community when she votes. Martin recently became an American citizen and this is her first time voting here.

A CBS News Battleground Tracker Poll found that 63% of those considering voting for the Democrats believe that “a functioning democracy” is a more important concern than “a strong economy,” compared to 29% of those leaning towards the Republicans. Conversely, 70% of likely Republican voters support a strong economy over a functioning democracy, compared to 29% of likely Democratic voters.

Democratic journalist and commentator Terry Blount said on Twitter that “people who voted on the economy were still going to vote” but that the midterm elections would see many voters for the first time concerned about “their rights… being taken away from them”. Blount suggested Roe v Wade gun violence and health insurance were bigger concerns for these new voters than the economy.

INTERACTIVE_US MIDTERMS_Key Issues

A survey of 1,000 black voters conducted by KFF/TheGrio found that 28% who said they were more likely to vote in the 2022 midterm elections than they had been in previous elections were motivated by the desire to vote for the Republicans. Nearly three-quarters of those polled said the economy would drive their midterm votes, with 81% saying they felt the economy was against black people.

Glynda Carr, co-founder and president of Higher Heights for America, a PAC that supports black candidates for political office, wrote on Twitter“While we know the economy weighs heavily on the minds of black voters midterm, we know the economy cannot be separated from key issues such as voting rights and criminal justice reform. .”

Student loans, not avocado toast

Another one poll by left-wing think tank Data for Progress, found that President Joe Biden’s student debt relief plan motivated people to vote, with 46% of voters saying they were more likely to vote because of the plan. Fifty-two percent of Democrats and 49 percent of Republicans said they were more likely to vote midterm because of the student debt relief package.

Meanwhile, two-thirds of students interviewed by online learning platform Course Hero said inflation was driving their vote. Sixty-six percent of those planning to vote for the Democrats said the cancellation of student loans, as well as the cost of college and student loans, would influence their vote, while inflation and the rising cost of rent , gas and groceries were a driving force for 73% of Republican students.

Jackie Smith, 25, of Sacramento, Calif., said contrary to what older generations believe, it’s not Starbucks and avocado toast that’s keeping her bank balance low. Smith took out $60,000 in student loans to attend graduate school after receiving a full scholarship to her undergraduate university. “I will definitely vote for candidates who understand this is a problem,” she said. Her graduate degree got her a better job, but she said the debt would make it “very hard to buy a house, get married, [or] make long-term financial decisions like having children.”

Nejra Sumic, 35, of Phoenix, Arizona, said she votes for local and state candidates who support Proposition 308, which would allow undocumented immigrants to pay the same tuition at Arizona universities. than student citizens.

“These midterms can make or break the next generation of students,” Smith said.

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