Americans’ top political concerns are turning away from the pandemic, a recent poll suggests Democrats may face challenges to keep control of Congress after this upcoming midterm election year.
According to a survey by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, there are growing concerns about the economy, personal finance and inflation compared to previous years, when COVID-19 management was a primary concern.
Only 37 percent of Americans listed the virus as a top government concern, while 53 percent said it was a major priority a year ago. Now, 68 per cent have listed the economy as a top concern as in the previous year. However, growing concern over inflation rose 13 percent, a topic that could benefit Republicans during the midterm elections.
In the 12 months ending November 2021, consumer prices rose 6.8 percent, the highest increase in nearly 40 years, and nearly twice as many Americans now expect to live up to their household finances and government priorities. Mention the cost.
Although the survey was conducted in early December, before Omicron’s cases reached record highs, recent follow-up interviews with poll participants show that their opinions remain the same.
Mary Smalls, 65, a pharmaceutical research contractor in Downingtown, Pennsylvania, whose state will hold a race for an open Senate seat, expects gun safety to be a central issue during November’s election as she said the virus may never end.
“If we say anything like, ‘Let’s wait until the pandemic dies,’ well, this son-of-a-gun virus has unlimited potential to mutate,” Smalls said.
Judy Kunzman of Middletown, Pennsylvania, said she doesn’t blame Biden for the ongoing pandemic, calling it one of the impossible things to predict and fix; She said other issues were taking center stage, such as supply chain disruptions.
“Everything has chips, and chips don’t,” Kunzman said, referring to the global shortage of microchips on which many electronics depend.
Kunzman said she waited months for a car, while she said her sister struggled to find a new cellphone.
Adam Brandon, president of the conservative activist group FreedomWorks, said it was not the victory the Democratic Party had imagined.
“Next year we’ll have another wave, and I don’t think anyone cares,” Brandon said. “I think we’re going to get to a point where everyone just has to learn to live with it. It’ll die with a whisper because people just lose interest.”
The Democratic Party gained control of both the White House and Congress in 2020, pledging to manage the pandemic better than the Republican-led Trump administration. As COVID-19 is still undefeated, voters are listing other political issues as important concerns.
Administration officials also acknowledge that the public is tired of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The fatigue of the pandemic is real, and we all feel it at some point or the other,” Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said. “As a doctor, I have certainly seen this with my patients over the years. When you are exhausted and beaten by a health problem – whether it is a personal health problem or a broader public health challenge – it can lead to disruption. could be the cause.”
The White House says the lack of COVID-19 as a major concern really underscores its success in introducing preventive measures, including vaccines. It argues that the economic shock now exacerbated by the pandemic will eventually subside.
Several respondents in the survey said that they are not suggesting the country to ignore the pandemic. Some said they were encouraged by early signs that the latest outbreak, although spreading rapidly, may have a milder effect for many. But compared to last year, a higher percentage of people called other issues, including immigration among Republicans and gun control among Democrats, as pressure in 2022.
“I’m hopeful with Omicron,” said Samantha Flowers, a 33-year-old community college teacher in Columbia, Missouri, a state that has its own open Senate seat on the November ballot. “Although more people are getting it, the disease isn’t as harsh for most people. Since we’re all going to get sick, let it be one that we can better recover from.”
Dorri Keo, of Garretsville, Ohio, said she has been vaccinated against COVID-19 and received a booster shot, but she is still staying at home as much as possible because of Omicron.
“Whoever is not in power will twist it in a way that makes it look worse,” said Keough, 68. “The more I read—and the more I investigate—the more difficult it is for me to see what’s actually happening versus what people are saying is happening.”
Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, said the key to Democrats’ 2022 success is to allay COVID-19 fears – but also deliver concrete policy results. That includes passing Biden’s “Build Back Better,” a massive social spending bill that has stalled in the Senate.
“I don’t think we’re going to win the election for lack of concern,” Green said, “if we haven’t achieved anything else.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.