U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on deficit reduction from the Roosevelt Room at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., October 21, 2022.
Sarah Silbiger | Reuters
President Joe Biden predicted Friday that voters will swing back to favor Democrats in the remaining weeks before the midterm elections as concerns over the economy ease.
“Back and forth, with them ahead, us ahead, them ahead, back and forth. The polls have been all over the place,” Biden said, speaking at the White House. “I think that we’re going to see one more shift back to our side in the closing days.”
Democrats hope to hold their majorities in both chambers of Congress for the final two years of Biden’s first term. The party is clinging to a small majority in the House, and holds the slimmest possible edge in a 50-50 Senate.
Polls have recently favored Republicans as concerns over the economy have eclipsed abortion. A New York Times/Siena College poll released Monday found voters favor Republican control of Congress by a margin of 4 percentage points.
The gap, which fell within the survey’s margin of error, marked a shift from a month ago, when Democrats were favored to control Congress.
The poll found economic topics like the stock market and jobs were voters’ top issues, as 26% said it was their biggest concern, followed by inflation at 18% and abortion and immigration each with 5%.
Approval for Biden generally and his handling of the economy rose in the third quarter, according to the CNBC All-America Economic Survey released Thursday, with each improving 10 percentage points from the last poll in July. The survey found respondents favored Republicans over Democrats to control Congress by a 2 percentage point margin. The advantage fell within the survey’s 3.5 percentage point margin of error.
The CNBC survey also found Republicans scored higher on voter preference for economic issues, with double-digit leads on the questions of who would do a better job bringing down inflation, handling taxes, dealing with deficits and creating jobs.
But Biden, speaking about the federal deficit’s drop to $1.38 trillion in fiscal year 2022 from the 2021 deficit of $2.78 trillion as pandemic-era spending fell, stressed the economic tides were shifting.
“Let me tell you why,” Biden said. “I think that we’re starting to see some of the good news on the economy. Gas prices are down sharply in 46 of the 50 states because of what I’ve been doing. We’re moving in the right direction and there’s more to come.”
The president argued that GOP proposals would further increase the deficit and that the U.S. is only beginning to feel the effects of his economic policies.
“The election is not a referendum, it’s a choice,” Biden said. “Republicans can criticize my economic record but look at what I’ve inherited and what I’ve done. Look what they’re offering.”