By M.D. Kittle
MADISON — Call it inflation motivation.
More than 68 percent of respondents say the soaring price of groceries is motivating them to vote in November’s midterms, according to a new poll from Convention of States Action.
The poll of 1,079 likely voters, conducted between Sept. 17-20, found 51.2 percent say the increasing cost of the essentials has increased their motivation to vote very much, while 17.1 percent say their voting motivation has increased somewhat. Just under 32 percent of those surveyed say the price of groceries isn’t impacting their motivation to vote.
Food prices, according to the most recent data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, have climbed 12.4 percent.
“This data reveals that skyrocketing grocery prices are really starting to hit Americans hard, even beyond the initial pinch they have been feeling due to surging inflation. Voters are keenly aware that this is the result of disastrous and reckless policies being pursued by the Biden Administration such as the so-called ‘Inflation Reduction Act’ which ironically increases spending and therefore further drives inflation,” said Mark Meckler, president of the Convention of States.
It’s pure pocketbook politics.
The price of a loaf of white bread was up nearly 20 percent as of August, and at many stores prices have only gone up since. At the same time, ground beef prices were up 10.5 percent from $4.468 per pound to $4.937, fresh whole chicken prices climbed by 27.6 percent from $1.472 per pound to $1.879, and egg prices jumped 82.3 percenfrom $1.709 per dozen to $3.116.
Now, consumers are facing a national butter shortage as supplies in storage decline by an alarming 22 percent. In the Midwest, “spot loads of cream are very tight to unavailable” and “in the Northeast, retail butter demand is picking up, but tight inventories are causing some producers to regulate supplies across existing orders,” according to the United States Department of Agriculture.
The latest Marquette University Law School Poll found inflation by far the biggest issue among voters, with 94 percent of respondents saying it is a concern. Only 7 percent said they were not too concerned.
“More consumers living paycheck to paycheck indicates that many are continuing to lose their financial stability,” said Anuj Nayar, LendingClub’s financial health officer.
Meanwhile, rising interest rates and recessionary concerns have battered the average retirement account.
And now gasoline prices are rising again. Nationally, the average price for regular unleaded gas on Monday approached $3.80 a gallon. In Wisconsin, prices are higher — $3.93 a gallon. In 14 Wisconsin counties, gasoline was selling north of $4 a gallon. It could be worse. Los Angeles County hit a record high, at $6.466 a gallon.
Those who say the escalating prices have nothing to do with the liberals’ war on fossil fuels are lying.
“And it’s not just gas prices. Electricity costs are up 16% from last year, and prices are expected to soar again this winter in Wisconsin. The average American family has LOST $1,800 paying for increased energy costs since Biden took office,” Rachel Reisner, spokeswomen for the Republican National Committee, said in a statement.
She notes Gov. Tony Evers and Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes have been staunch supporters of the Biden administration’s policies. Evers and Barnes have been in lockstep with Biden, who canceled the Keystone XL pipeline, froze oil and gas leases, depleted the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to its lowest level in decades, and made clear his intention to eliminate all fossil fuels, Reisner said.
Americans are feeling the pain. Polling suggests voters are likely to take it out on liberal politicians come November.
“Election observers are constantly looking for that one, top of mind issue that is affecting the mood–ultimately the decisions–of the electorate, and when almost 70% of voters indicate they are mad enough about food prices that it makes them more likely to vote, that’s a real-time indicator that it’s an issue which as risen to that status,” said Meckler, of Convention of States.
Empower Wisconsin | Oct. 4. 2022