How could economic concerns impact voting decisions this November?

By Isabella Osgood 

While the United States inflation rate has improved in recent months, the state of the economy has become a top concern for voters leading up to the 2024 presidential election. 

In January, Gallup News reported that 56% of Americans feel they have been impacted by inflation. 46% say that an increased cost of living has a “moderate impact” on their lives, while the remaining 17% reported “severe hardship” that highly impacted their standard of living. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service (USDA ERS) reported that overall cost inflation was up 0.4% between March and April of 2024. Food costs went up by 0.2 percent during this same period. This 2024 statistic is 2.2% higher than April 2023. An in depth analysis states that costs of eating out, or “food-away-from-home” prices are predicted to increase by 4.2% this year, while “food-at-home” or grocery prices could increase by 1.2%. 

As another example, the gasoline index increased by 2.2% alongside a 5.9% influx on electricity between May 2023 and May 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics

2024 Democratic candidate, President Joe Biden, says that in response to high consumer costs, he will be “building two million new homes” to lower housing costs, pursuing lowering prescription drug prices and “calling on grocery chains making record profits to lower grocery prices for consumers.” Biden also said in a White House Press release that he will lower food costs by investing in fertilizer, meat and poultry production, providing additional market options to farmers. 

Republican candidate and Former President Donald Trump recently introduced plans to replace income tax with tariffs if he is elected in November. This would mean a 10% tariff on all goods imported to the United States as opposed to increased taxation on high income individuals. Currently, this is a large topic of discussion included in the Trump campaign. 

Overall, American voters agree with Republican over Democratic economic policies, according to the Pew Research Center. One chart shows that 65% of survey participants think inflation is a “very big problem”, a higher percentage than any other topic presented in the research. The report later stated that 77% of Republicans and right-leaning Independents say that the economy is a very important topic.  

The inflation rate in the United States is currently 3.3% according to the U.S. Inflation Calculator. Between 2% and 3% is considered an average rate.