Nearly half of Americans have reported that the recent surge in inflation is making it difficult to meet their financial needs, according to a new poll. On Wednesday, Monmouth University released a poll indicating that 46% of Americans are “currently struggling to remain where they are financially.” This is the highest percentage recorded by the pollster since President Joe Biden took office, and it is significantly higher than during his predecessor’s term.

“In polls conducted between 2022 and 2023, this number ranged between 37% and 44%,” Monmouth said in its report. “In prior polls from 2017 to 2021, this sentiment was much lower at 20% to 29%.” Prices have increased by about 20% since Biden took office, representing a significant hike across all types of goods and services. However, inflation is now increasing at a much slower rate than the rapid pace seen earlier in Biden’s term.

“Even with a declining inflation rate, prices continue to be much higher than they were four years ago,” Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute, noted in the report. “That’s the metric that has really mattered to many Americans over the past two years. Economic concerns may not be the top motivating factor for all voters but it defines the contours of this year’s election.”

Nevertheless, prices are still rising faster than economists want them to. Inflation slowed down somewhat last month, providing a break after years of elevated inflation. It remains to be seen whether this slowdown is just a temporary change or a turning point. For now, the president must deal with the substantial price increases during his term in the current election cycle. Polling shows that an equal percentage of Americans believe either Biden or Trump cares about their economic woes.

“The overwhelming narrative is that a large segment of the American public feels it is financially behind the eight ball,” Murray said. “It is true that voters who feel more comfortable with their economic situation are likely to support Biden. But despite continued Democratic efforts to tout rosy economic indicators, the tactic of telling financially pessimistic voters they should feel differently does not appear to be working.”

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