Nearly 8 in 10 Americans expect inflation to increase over the next six months, according to a Gallup poll released Wednesday, suggesting that an issue predominantly emphasized by Republicans that has loomed large over the Biden administration is perhaps crossing party lines.
Although Americans typically predict rising inflation, it’s unusual to this degree, Gallup says. The current expectation is the highest the group has ever measured, at 79% of those surveyed, with the prior record set in September 2005.
The estimates come as a growing number of Americans – who have not had to deal with sharply rising prices in decades – have in recent months named the issue as a top problem facing the U.S., doing so at higher rates than in nearly 40 years.
But Americans are still more preoccupied with the government and the coronavirus pandemic, naming them as top issues over inflation. Still, concern over inflation and its longevity are expected to continue to increase, Gallup says, while more Americans will likely report financial hardship, spelling trouble for the Biden administration.
Among those most affected are lower-income households that are less able to accommodate the rising prices, Gallup says. And while just 10% of the country says inflation’s effects are so severe that their standard of living has been impacted, about half of Americans say higher prices are harming their finances in one way or another.
Meanwhile, Americans view the economy more negatively than positively overall. Just 23% describe economic conditions as good or excellent, while 77% think they are only fair or poor. And around two-thirds of Americans believe the economy is only getting worse.
Top Biden administration officials have taken to blaming inflation on the pandemic and global disruptions to the economy to counter negative polling, while touting such achievements as passage of the American Rescue Plan that put money into the pockets of Americans, rising wages and reductions in household poverty.
But the widespread expectation among Americans that inflation will climb in the next six months suggests that even among Democrats, the issue is top of mind.
According to Gallup, political considerations appear to influence to what degree people say rising prices are “hurting their families.” Whereas 60% of Republicans report experiencing hardship over rising prices and a similar share of independence agree, around 36% of Democrats say the same.