Thursday’s inflation figures indicate that consumer prices rose faster than expected in September and the inflation rate remained near a 40-year high, likely cementing voter concerns over the state of the economy as they head to the polls in November.
It was the last consumer inflation report voters will see before they cast their ballots on Nov. 8, and election watchers said inflation appears to be a major issue for voters, even though other issues as abortion and democracy vie for attention.
“It’s the kind of thing that impacts everyone at every level of our social status and economic status,” Matt Germer, a resident election researcher for the libertarian R Street, told Fox News Digital. Institute.
“We all buy groceries, we buy gas, we pay our utility bills. And when those go up month after month, it puts pressure on budgets. And that’s the kind of thing that motivates people in November.”
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The Labor Department said Thursday that the consumer price index, a broad measure of the price of everyday goods, including gas, groceries and rents, rose 0.4% in September compared to the previous month. Prices climbed 8.2% on an annual basis.
Those figures were both higher than the headline figure of 8.1% and the monthly increase of 0.2% predicted by economists at Refinitiv. In an even more concerning development that suggests underlying inflationary pressures in the economy remain strong, core prices, which exclude the more volatile measures of food and energy, rose 0.6% in September compared to the previous month. Compared to the same period last year, core prices jumped 6.6%, the fastest since 1982.
Republicans have been attacking Democrats on the issue since last year and seem set to continue hammering their opponents on the issue until Election Day.
“Every American is grappling with the runaway price hikes caused by reckless spending by Democrats. That’s why in poll after poll, inflation is the No. 1 problem heading into the midterms.” National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Mike Berg told Fox News Digital.
Democrats claim they have proposed major bills aimed at curbing inflation, including a bipartisan infrastructure bill and the Cut Inflation Act, though Republicans dispute the claim. which it will actually reduce inflation.
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“The only party with a real economic plan is the Democratic Party,” Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesman Tommy Garcia told Fox News Digital. “We’re going to spend every remaining day in this campaign reminding voters that despite Republican filibuster, Democrats have taken bold steps to cut costs, put millions of Americans to work, and protect Americans’ reproductive freedoms.”
Inflation continues to remain high on voters’ minds, but other issues that could be more favorable to Democrats are being recorded in recent polls.
In a Fox News poll conducted last month in Arizona, inflation was tied to abortion at 17% for the third most important issue for voters. Two issues tied for first place with 18%: border security and the preservation of American democracy.
A Fox News poll in Wisconsin found inflation to be the second most important issue among voters in that state, at 20%. Preserving American democracy ranked first at 24%. Abortion trailed at 16%.
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In Pennsylvania, inflation was tied at 21% for the most important issue, with the preservation of American democracy. Abortion recorded at 15%.
But Germer says when voters head to the polls, inflation is likely to be the ultimate issue determining how they vote.
“For months now, Democrats have been trying to make abortion the issue of the election cycle. And there are definitely some people for whom it’s really the issue that drives them. But that’s not most people. “, said Germer.
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“I believe elections are important. I think there are good ideas for reform,” Germer added. “I care about that very deeply. But that’s not what drives people. It’s inflation.”
Megan Henney of FOX Business contributed to this report.