Nearly two-thirds of Utahns disapprove of President Joe Biden’s handling of the economy as he tries to assure voters across the country that it is strong ahead of the midterm elections.
A new Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics poll also found that Biden’s overall jobs approval rating continues to languish in Beehive State.
While eating an ice cream cone at a store in Portland, Oregon last weekend, the president told reporters that “our economy is strong as hell.” Biden went on to say that inflation is global.
“The problem is the lack of economic growth and sound politics in other countries, not so much ours,” he said.
Critics called his comments “tone-drab” as Americans continue to pay more for gas, groceries, housing and health care. Last week’s report from the US Department of Labor showed the consumer price index rose 0.4% in September and 8.2% from a year ago.
The Mountain West states, including Utah, continued to experience the nation’s highest regional inflation in September, rising 9.6% year over year.
Inflation is the top concern for voters as they head to the polls on Nov. 8 – early voting has begun in some states – in an election that will determine whether Democrats retain their narrow majority in Congress.
The four Republican congressmen from Utah facing Democratic challengers are unlikely to lose their seats. GOP Sen. Mike Lee has made inflation the focus of his campaign as he tries to fend off fierce competition from independent Evan McMullin.
Biden is releasing 15 million barrels of oil from the country’s strategic reserves to drive down gas prices, a move some see as a game to boost Democrats’ chances at the polls.
“It’s not politically motivated at all” Biden told reporters Wednesday. He said it’s to make sure there’s oil to produce enough gas in the United States, while moving to provide alternative energy.
A new Deseret News/Hinckley Institute poll found that 63% of Utahns disapprove of Biden’s performance on his handling of the economy, including nearly half who strongly disapprove. Only 36% approve, while 2% don’t know.
The disapproval rate rises to 77% among survey voters who identified as Republicans. Only 18% of self-identified Democrats in the poll disapprove of Biden’s work on the economy, while 73% approve.
The poll also showed that a large majority of workers at all income levels disapprove of the president’s handling of the economy.
Dan Jones & Associates conducted the survey of 801 registered Utah voters from October 3-6. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.46 percentage points.
Biden’s economic advisers told him last week that the United States remains in a strong position to bring down inflation and maintain a resilient labor market, despite global economic challenges associated with inflation around the world. Biden’s economic plan also continues to position the US economy for stronger growth and investment, according to the White House.
The economy is likely a factor in the president’s poor approval rating in Utah, though it has been weak throughout his tenure, including below 30% earlier this year.
The new Deseret News/Hinckley Institute poll shows 37% of voters in the state approve of Biden’s performance in the White House while 59% disapprove.
Utahns give Biden lower ratings than Americans overall. As of Wednesday, Biden had an approval rating of 42.3% and a disapproval mark of 53.2% nationally, according to the FiveThirtyEight poll average.
In the Utah survey, 87% of Democrats approve of the president’s job performance, compared to 21% of Republicans. Respondents who identified as conservative overwhelmingly disapprove, while self-identified liberals overwhelmingly approve. Moderates were right in the middle, with 50% approving of Biden’s job in the White House and 42% disapproving.