Three months before midterms, Republicans hold advantage on handling the economy, crime

New ABC News/Ipsos poll shows President Biden’s approval rating on key issues remains unchanged from June

The author(s)
  • Mallory Newall Vice President, US, Public Affairs
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The Republican Party is more trusted to handle key issues like the economy, inflation, and crime, according to the latest ABC News/Ipsos poll. This pattern holds true among those who indicate they are very enthusiastic about voting in the midterms this November. However, among roughly a third of all Americans, and nearly half of self-ascribed independents, neither party is trusted to do a good job, indicating both Democrats and Republicans have work to do to make inroads with certain groups of the public before November. At the same time, President Joe Biden’s job approval rating holds steady across many issues. Aside from his response to coronavirus, most Americans disapprove of the job Biden is doing on several key issues.



1. Among both the general public and those most enthusiastic about voting in the November midterm elections, Republicans are seen as doing a better job with handling key issues.

  • Roughly one-third of Americans trust Republicans to do a better job of handling key issues of the day, namely the economy, inflation, crime, and immigration. Around a quarter trust Democrats more on each of these issues.
  • Among the 35% of Americans who are very enthusiastic about voting in November, a similar pattern emerges. Republicans hold a double-digit advantage on trust over Democrats on these four issues.
  • On the other hand, Democrats retain an advantage on the coronavirus pandemic (also the only issue tested in this survey that President Biden has a positive approval rating on) and climate change.
  • However, across every single issue tested in the survey, roughly one-third of Americans – and nearly half of those who identify as independents – say they trust neither party on the issue.

2. On self-reported voter enthusiasm, the gap between Republicans and Democrats has closed from June. Democrats now report nearly the same level of enthusiasm as Republicans.

  • Currently, 35% of Americans say they are very enthusiastic about voting in November, and 59% are either very or somewhat enthusiastic.
  • The enthusiasm gap between Democrats and Republicans has closed since June. Now, 42% of self-ascribed Democrats and 47% of  people who identify as Republicans are very enthusiastic. In June, there was a 13 percentage point gap between partisans on their stated enthusiasm (43% of Democrats were very enthusiastic versus 57% of Republicans).

3. President Biden’s approval rating on key issues at stake in the midterms is holding steady, but mostly negative.

  • On 10 of the 11 issues tested in this survey, President Biden’s approval rating has not significantly changed since June. A majority of Americans continue to disapprove of the job he’s doing on every single issue tested, except the response to the coronavirus.
  • Thirty-seven percent approve of the job he’s doing on the economic recovery, and just 29% approve of Biden’s handling of inflation.  On both issues, a majority of independents disapprove of the job Biden is doing (66% and 73% on the respective issues).
  • At the same time, a strong majority (69%) feel the nation’s economy is getting worse, compared to just 12% who say it is getting better.  Nearly half of Democrats, and a majority of Republicans and independents, say the nation’s economy is getting worse, and two-thirds (64%) of those very enthusiastic about voting in November say the same.
  • For Biden, the only issue where his approval rating has changed is on gas prices. Now, 34% approve of the job he’s doing on the issue, compared to 27% in June. Currently, average gas prices are nearly one dollar lower than they were in June.  

About the Study 

This ABC News/Ipsos poll was conducted August 5 to August 6, 2022, by Ipsos using the probability-based KnowledgePanel®. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 665 adults age 18 or older.

The survey was conducted using KnowledgePanel, the largest and most well-established online probability-based panel that is representative of the adult US population. Our recruitment process employs a scientifically developed addressed-based sampling methodology using the latest Delivery Sequence File of the USPS – a database with full coverage of all delivery points in the US. Households invited to join the panel are randomly selected from all available households in the U.S. Persons in the sampled households are invited to join and participate in the panel. Those selected who do not already have internet access are provided a tablet and internet connection at no cost to the panel member. Those who join the panel and who are selected to participate in a survey are sent a unique password-protected log-in used to complete surveys online. As a result of our recruitment and sampling methodologies, samples from KnowledgePanel cover all households regardless of their phone or internet status and findings can be reported with a margin of sampling error and projected to the general population.

The study was conducted in both English and Spanish. The data were weighted to adjust for gender by age, race/ethnicity, education, Census region, metropolitan status, household income, and party identification. The demographic benchmarks came from 2021 Current Population Survey (CPS) from the US Census Bureau. Party ID benchmarks are from recent ABC News/Washington Post telephone polls. The weighting categories were as follows:

  • Gender (Male, Female) by Age (18–29, 30–44, 45–59, and 60+)
  • Race/Hispanic Ethnicity (White Non-Hispanic, Black Non-Hispanic, Other or 2+ Races Non-Hispanic, Hispanic)
  • Education (High School graduate or less, Some College, Bachelor and beyond)
  • Census Region (Northeast, Midwest, South, West)
  • Metropolitan status (Metro, non-Metro)
  • Household Income (Under $25,000, $25,000-$49,999, $50,000-$74,999, $75,000-$99,999, $100,000-$149,999, $150,000+)
  • Party ID (Democrat, Republican, Independent, Something else)

The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 4.2 percentage points at the 95% confidence level, for results based on the entire sample of adults. The margin of sampling error takes into account the design effect, which was 1.19. The margin of sampling error is higher and varies for results based on sub-samples. Sampling error is only one potential source of error. There may be other unmeasured non-sampling error in this or any poll. In our reporting of the findings, percentage points are rounded off to the nearest whole number. As a result, percentages in a given table column may total slightly higher or lower than 100%. In questions that permit multiple responses, columns may total substantially more than 100%, depending on the number of different responses offered by each respondent.

About Ipsos 

Ipsos is the world’s third largest Insights and Analytics company, present in 90 markets and employing more than 18,000 people.

Our passionately curious research professionals, analysts and scientists have built unique multi-specialist capabilities that provide true understanding and powerful insights into the actions, opinions and motivations of citizens, consumers, patients, customers or employees. We serve more than 5000 clients across the world with 75 business solutions.

Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos is listed on the Euronext Paris since July 1st, 1999. The company is part of the SBF 120 and the Mid-60 index and is eligible for the Deferred Settlement Service (SRD).

ISIN code FR0000073298, Reuters ISOS.PA, Bloomberg IPS:FP

The author(s)
  • Mallory Newall Vice President, US, Public Affairs