A new study shows that 44% of likely voters believe the economy is the most important issue facing the country. But despite record-high inflation and a looming recession, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi insists Democrats are in good shape for the midterm elections. While the country focuses on inflation, Pelosi has focused on abortion as the Democratic Party’s top issue.
Victor Nava; October 18, 2022
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi denied recent polling showing rising crime and rising prices are the top issues to voters this November — joining President Biden in trying to turn the focus to abortion rights.
A New York Times-Siena College poll released Monday showed the economy and inflation were the most important issues to a combined 44% of likely voters — part of a larger shift toward Republicans just three weeks before Election Day.
When MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell cited the poll during an interview with Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Tuesday, the House speaker wasn’t having it.
“Much of what you’ve said I don’t agree with,” Pelosi, one of the richest members of Congress, told Mitchell. “The New York Times poll, I think, is an outlier poll.”
When Mitchell countered that “the Real Clear Politics average is showing similar issues,” the speaker would not relent.
“No, but that was one that brought down the average, and it was an outlier,” Pelosi insisted. “It wasn’t even that big a sample. So I dismiss that.”
Pelosi went on to claim that based on her observations from “visiting five states a week” since Congress recessed at the end of September, abortion is one of the top issues in the midterm elections.
“I can tell you that women’s concerns about their freedom are very, very much still very significant in terms of how they will vote,” she said.
In contrast to pocketbook issues, abortion was the top issue to just 5% of likely voters in the Times-Siena poll — and only 8% of likely voters who identified as Democrats.
In the same vein, a CNN poll released last week showed that 93% of likely voters said the economy was “extremely” or “very important” to determining their vote. A relatively paltry 75% said the same of abortion.
A Monmouth University poll released earlier this month had similar results, with 82% saying inflation was a “very” or “extremely” important issue and only 56% saying the same of abortion.
Despite the daunting data, Democrats have tried to use the Supreme Court’s June ruling overturning Roe v. Wade to cast Republicans as extreme abortion restrictionists.
At a campaign event on Tuesday, President Biden pledged to codify abortion rights into federal law if Democrats keep control of the House and Senate in January.
“I want to remind us all how we felt when 50 years of constitutional precedent was overturned,” Biden said in remarks at the Howard Theatre in Washington, “the anger, the worry, the disbelief.”
That is likely to be an empty promise with Republicans heavily favored to win at least the House Nov. 8. Meanwhile, a bid to codify abortion rights this past May died in the Senate after failing to get even a single GOP vote.
Photo: AP/Mariam Zuhaib