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Fox News Poll: Americans are down on the economy but hopeful for the country


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At year’s end, Americans’ economic views are decidedly negative. Most continue to say the economy is in bad shape and nearly twice as many think it will get worse next year as think it will get better. Inflation is a hardship for three-quarters while another 6-in-10 rate their personal financial situation negatively. 

And yet: a 53% majority is hopeful about the future of the country, a notable increase from the 43% who were hopeful one year ago. The increase in optimism comes from both Democrats (+11 points since December 2021) and Republicans (+13 points). Still, Democrats (71%) are considerably more optimistic than Republicans (42%) and independents (40%).

That’s according to the latest Fox News national survey of registered voters, released Wednesday.

Despite this increased optimism, just 31% are satisfied with the way things are going in the country today, while 68% are dissatisfied. A majority of Democrats (58%) are satisfied, compared to just 11% of Republicans.

The economy is clearly driving this dissatisfaction. Voters across the aisle agree it is far and away the most important issue facing the country (42% overall, including 50% of Republicans, 49% of independents, and 29% of Democrats). 

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After the economy, Democrats and Republicans diverge on what they see as the next most important issues. Immigration and border security is the second-most important issue for Republicans (22%), followed distantly by abortion (6%) and crime (6%). There is a broader second tier among Democrats, including climate change (14%), guns (13%), abortion (11%), voting rights and election integrity (9%), crime (8%) and heath care (8%). 

Eight-in-ten voters (81%) give the economy a negative rating, with nearly half (49%) saying economic conditions are downright poor.

Three-quarters (74%) report inflation causing them financial hardship over the last six months -- an increase over the 67% who felt that way a year ago -- and 58% rate their personal economic situation negatively.

Voters don’t see relief on the horizon, with just 25% expecting the economy to turn the corner next year and nearly twice as many (48%) thinking it will get worse.

That adds up to a lump of coal for the Biden administration this holiday season. Only 26% think the administration’s policies have helped control inflation, while 44% think they have made it worse.

On a personal level, nearly half (46%) say they have been hurt by the economic policies of the Biden administration, while just 16% have been helped -- another 35% say the policies don’t make a difference. A year ago, the numbers stood at 38% hurt, 17% helped, and 43% no difference.

Inflation is President Biden's worst issue: 30% approve of the job he is doing (67% disapprove). His ratings on China (33% approve), immigration (35%), the economy (36%), and guns (36%) are not much better.

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Four-in-ten approve of the job he is doing on energy policy (40%) and the war in Ukraine (42%).

Overall, 44% approve of the job Biden is doing, while 56% disapprove. That is slightly worse than last year at this time, when 47% approved and 51% disapproved.

"Even though his job approval rating is below 50 percent, there is some Teflon in Biden," says Republican pollster Daron Shaw who conducts the Fox News Poll with Democrat Chris Anderson. "If you look at how voters say he has done on the big issues, he should be even less popular than he actually is. It’s possible that his ‘been there, done that’ demeanor is what people want even as they express dissatisfaction with his performance."

Biden’s not the only one with an approval issue. Just 27% of voters approve of the job Congress is doing, while 67% disapprove.

Poll-pourri

By a 52-41 percent margin, voters say Biden exceeded his Constitutional authority when he canceled student loan debt worth an estimated $400 billion dollars over 30 years. Those most likely to say he exceeded his authority include Republicans (81%) and those over age 65 (59%). Democrats (72%) and voters under age 45 (56%) are the most likely to think Biden was within his authority. Independents are 16 points more likely to say the president exceeded his authority than stayed within his limits (54% exceeded vs. 38% within his authority).

Voters are most likely to attribute rising crime rates across the country to a breakdown of moral values (21%) and the availability of guns (17%). Fewer blame weaker criminal penalties (14%), mental health issues (12%), decreased police funding (9%), a lack of jobs (9%), illegal immigration (8%) or the pandemic (7%). Democrats believe the availability of guns is the top reason for rising crime (30%), while Republicans think it is a breakdown of moral values (24%).

Forty-five percent of voters now believe coronavirus is completely or mostly under control in the United States, while 54% say it is only somewhat or not at all under control. This is a markedly improved outlook from last December when just 27% thought it was completely or mostly under control.

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Views are mixed on next steps in Ukraine, with 29% saying the U.S. should do more to help in the war with Russia, 26% saying the U.S. should do less, and a 40% plurality saying we’re doing the right amount. Sixty-seven percent think Ukraine will survive the Russian invasion and remain a free country, down just a touch from 71% in May.

Conducted December 9-12, 2022, under the joint direction of Beacon Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R), this Fox News Poll includes interviews with 1,005 registered voters nationwide who were randomly selected from a national voter file and spoke with live interviewers on both landlines and cellphones. The total sample has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.

Fox News’ Dana Blanton and Victoria Balara contributed to this report.

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