Inflation and abortion lead the list of voter concerns, NBC News Exit Poll finds – Trending News

Americans named inflation and abortion as the most important issues driving their vote on Tuesday, according to the NBC News Exit Poll.

Democrats care most about abortion rights, while Republicans are most concerned about inflation, according to the poll. Independent voters also named inflation and abortion as the most important issues determining how they cast their ballots.

Midterm voters mostly disapprove of President Joe Biden’s performance and a plurality said they think his policies are hurting the country, the poll found. A majority of voters also said they are dissatisfied or angry about the way things are going in the U.S.

The poll was conducted with voters as they left polling places across the United States on Election Day. The exit poll also includes extensive interviews with in-person early voters, as well as telephone surveys to capture absentee voters. (Here’s an explanation of the poll’s methodology.)

Inflation and abortion are top of mind for midterm voters

When asked which issue mattered most this year, nearly a third of voters nationwide (32%) said inflation is their top issue and just over a quarter (27%) said abortion.

Trailing those concerns are crime and gun policy, each selected by 11% of voters, and immigration, at 10%.

GOP candidates across the U.S. made concerns about crime, inflation and immigration focal points of their advertisements and speeches on the stump.

Republican voters on Tuesday shared those concerns, the exit poll shows: 44% of GOP voters named inflation as the most important issue, followed by immigration, at 15%. Crime is the fourth most important issue for GOP voters, however, at 12%, after abortion, at 14%.

By contrast, Democrats are overwhelmingly concerned about abortion: 46% named it as the most important issue, followed by inflation, at 15%, and gun policy, at 14%.

Majorities of voters said they trust Republicans to handle crime, inflation and immigration more than the Democrats. However, Democrats enjoy a sizable lead over the GOP on handling abortion.

The economy looms large for voters

More voters reported a downturn in their family finances this year than in any midterm since the end of the Great Recession, the poll found.

Forty-seven percent of voters said their family’s financial situation is worse than it was two years ago, according to the poll; smaller shares said their family financials are about the same (33%) or better (19%) than they were two years ago.

When asked about the effects of inflation, a large share of voters (59%) said it caused them or their families moderate hardship, while another 20% said it caused them severe hardship.

Roughly one in five voters, or 20%, said that inflation has not caused them or their families any hardship at all.

Latino voters were particularly likely to say that inflation caused them severe hardship. Latino voters were nearly twice as likely to say that as white voters — 29% versus 18%. Roughly one in five Black voters, meanwhile, said inflation caused severe hardship.

Midterm voters are also continuing to feel pain at the pump as gas prices in the U.S. hover around $4 per gallon. The poll found a majority of voters nationwide, 65%, say the price of gas has been a financial hardship for them recently.

Most midterm voters feel negatively about Supreme Court decision overturning Roe

The poll found that a majority of voters nationwide are disappointed or angry about the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that guaranteed the right to abortion in the U.S.

The poll found that 39% of voters are angry about the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision in June, and another 21% of voters feel dissatisfied with the ruling.

That’s compared to 21% of voters nationwide who said they are satisfied with the Dobbs decision and another 16% who said they feel enthusiastic about it.

The future of abortion access is on the ballot in several states. In the exit poll, more voters nationwide said abortion should be legal rather than illegal: 60% said it should be legal in all or most cases; 36% said it should be illegal in all cases.

More voters say Biden’s policies are hurting than helping

Biden fell short in persuading voters of the merits of his administration’s policies, according to the poll.

Most voters say that Biden’s policies are either hurting the country (47%) or not making a difference (17%); just over a third of voters (33%) said that the president’s policies are mostly helping the country.

The poll found that even some of Biden’s core electoral constituencies are unconvinced that his policies are working out. Only about a third of Latinos (34%), voters under the age of 30 (34%) and independents (35%) said his policies are mostly helping.

Black voters are one of the few demographic groups where a majority (55%) say Biden’s policies are helping the country.

Most voters have a pessimistic national outlook

The poll found a majority of voters are angry or dissatisfied about the way things are going across the country, with a large majority of Republicans saying they feel negatively about national conditions.

Democratic voters, for their part, said they are more pessimistic about the current state of the country than Republicans said they were in 2018 as they cast their midterm ballots. (Republicans held onto control of the Senate in the 2018 elections, but lost control of the House).

The poll found 33% of voters are angry about the way things are going in the U.S. and another 41% are dissatisfied. Nineteen percent of voters said they are satisfied and a slim 5% said they are enthusiastic.

Biden’s job approval nearly matches Trump, but base enthusiasm is low

Biden’s performance in the White House so far gets good marks from 45% of midterm voters, according to the poll — with a nearly identical approval rating to then-President Donald Trump’s in 2018.

However, one key difference is that Biden lacks the strong enthusiasm from his base that Trump enjoyed. Even during a devastating midterm in 2018, 45% of voters approved of Trump’s job performance and 31% of voters expressed strong approval in 2018.

This year, just 19% of voters expressed strong approval of Biden’s job performance.

Regardless of party, most Americans agree U.S. democracy is under threat

Seventy percent of midterm voters think U.S. democracy is “threatened,” while 28% say it is “secure.” Majorities of Democratic voters (72%), Republicans (68%) and independents (70%) all think democracy is under threat.

Midterm voters are split sharply over whether Biden’s victory in 2020 was legitimate, with 96% of Democrats agreeing compared to just 29% of Republican voters. More than a quarter of Republicans (29%) say they think elections in their states are not “fair and accurate.”

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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