The nation is growing increasingly anxious about inflation, and that’s freaking Democrats out, because everyone knows it’s the party in power that gets blamed for a bad economy. Except this time, maybe there’s something Democrats can do about it: join the majority of Americans who are putting the blame on corporations.
Polling trends suggest that voters don’t believe inflation is President Joe Biden’s fault. Corporate greed is to blame—in a very big way. Navigator Research issued new results this week finding that since the beginning of May “there has been a 5-point increase in the share who say they are ‘very concerned’ about inflation, with the greatest increase coming from independents (9-point increase, from 51% to 60%).” They identify gas and grocery prices as particular areas of concern.
What’s really significant is the 8-point increase since January in the share “who say corporate greed is a cause of inflation (from 73% to 81%).” Yes, 81% say that it’s corporate greed running up prices. That’s a “7-point increase among Republicans (from 64% to 71%), a 13-point increase among independents (from 67% to 80%), and an 8-point increase among Democrats (from 82% to 90%).”
While voters overwhelmingly say corporations are to blame, they do differentiate a bit among those corporations. When it comes to oil and gas companies, a plurality of 44% call it “price gouging.” When it’s big pharmaceutical companies, 54% call it “corporate greed.” “Corporations exploiting consumers” is also a popular description among Navigator’s survey group.
Respondents are also very open to hearing more from President Joe Biden on the economy and very supportive of what they think might be in his plan. “Just half (51%) report hearing ‘a lot’ or ‘some’ about Biden and Democrats’ economic plan, but majorities of Democrats (89%), independents (57%), and every racial group support it, along with a plurality of Republicans (47%).”
All this reinforces what Groundwork Collaborative found in a recent poll with Data for Progress. In that survey, “voters overwhelmingly believe corporations are raising prices unfairly to earn record profits.”
“By a 60-32 point margin,” that survey found “voters agree that corporations are taking advantage of the pandemic to raise prices and grow profits—and reject the premise that corporations have ‘no choice but to raise prices.’” The trope Republicans tried to push that it’s all the fault of greedy workers who refuse to take jobs unless they get paid better isn’t flying with those surveyed in this poll.
“When asked whom they blame more for inflation—corporations or rising wages of workers—voters overwhelmingly blame corporations for increasing prices to profit more—by a 55-point margin [77% to 16%].” And inflation is they key concern for them, having increased from 36% in February to 44% by early May.
“Over and over, corporations are telling us about their corporate profiteering strategies—and the public is taking notice,” said Groundwork’s executive director Lindsay Owens. “By wide margins, voters say corporations are raising prices simply because they can—and they want lawmakers to put a stop to it.”
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