About half of Americans say either the economy or inflation is the most important issue in their vote for Congress, making pocketbook issues by far the most dominant in the run up to the midterm elections, according to a new ABC News/Ipsos poll.
Taken individually, 26% identify the economy as their single most important issue determining their vote while 23% cite inflation. Nearly three out of four Republicans point to the two economic concerns as a priority, compared to only 29% of Democrats per the ABC News/Ipsos poll conducted using Ipsos’ KnowledgePanel.
Democrats are much more likely than Republicans to say abortion, gun violence and climate change are the top reasons for their vote, according to the poll.
Importantly, independents closely mirror the national numbers, with 49% having the combination of inflation and the economy above all others.
The top two reasons for vote choice vary little by race and ethnicity. Regarding the economy and inflation, 45% of Black Americans and 47% of Hispanic Americans prioritize the pair of issues, essentially the same as the general public.
But there’s a meaningful difference by race and ethnicity on an issue that’s on the agenda for Democrats: gun violence. Although only 4% of white Americans name gun violence as the most important issue in their vote for Congress, 15% of Hispanic Americans and 17% of Black Americans list it as theirs.
This duo of issues – economy and inflation – are much more likely to drive voters toward Republicans, who have been hammering President Joe Biden and his administration for higher prices at the pump and the grocery store for months on end. But Democrats have also hoped that a recent decision by the Supreme Court that made access to abortion services more difficult – and in some cases nonexistent – will drive turnout in their favor.
Data from the new ABC News/Ipsos poll shows that about 6 in 10 Americans (61%) think abortion should be legal in all or most cases versus only 37 percent who think it should be illegal. The public has a clear preference in supporting candidates who align with that view with a large plurality saying they would be more likely to support a candidate who favors keeping abortion legal and available.
But access to abortion, while galvanizing for some, is less likely to be the primary motivation for one in five Americans who say the issue makes no difference at all in their voting decision, with that indifference being even higher among independents.
Indifference persists when Americans are asked about party control of Pennsylvania Avenue versus Capitol Hill. Half the country says it doesn’t matter if the same or opposite parties control Congress and the White House. Only 19% think it is better for the country to have a president from one political party and Congress controlled by the other.
Just under a third would prefer to have the same party control both branches of government, but that number is driven by 47% of Democrats who overwhelmingly want their party to control both. Even more independents, 55%, say it makes no difference.
This ABC News/Ipsos poll was conducted using Ipsos Public Affairs‘ KnowledgePanel® October 28-29, 2022, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 729 adults with oversamples of black and Hispanic respondents weighted to their correct proportions in the general population.. Results have a margin of sampling error of 3.9 points, including the design effect. Partisan divisions are 28-24-41 percent, Democrats-Republicans-independents. See the poll’s topline results and details on the methodology here.
ABC News’ Dan Merkle and Ken Goldstein contributed to this report.