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Voters Say GOP ‘Would Do a Better Job’ than Dems Handling Nation’s Most Important Issues – and Abortion Isn’t One of Them

By Craig Bannister | September 19, 2022 | 3:03pm EDT
(Getty Images/Tami Chappell/AFP)

As November’s midterm elections approach, registered voters are far more confident that the Republican Party, not Democrats, would do a better job of handling the country’s most important issues, a new national survey sponsored by NBC News reveals.

“Jobs and the economy” and “cost of living” are cited by registered voters as the “most important issues facing the country.” When asked “Which party you think would do a better job,” voters heavily favored Republicans to handle the economy by an all-time GOP high 19-point margin (47%-28%) and the cost of living by a 14-point margin (43%-29%).

“Threats to democracy” is the third most important issue for voters. Here, Democrats have a seven-point edge (40%-33%) in terms of “Protecting democracy” – but, voters have more confidence in Republicans to do a better job of “Protecting our constitutional rights” (44% to 35%, a nine-point margin).

“Immigration and the situation at the border” is the fourth biggest concern. In terms of “dealing with immigration,” voters have more confidence in Republicans (46%-29%), giving the party a 17-point advantage. Voters’ confidence in Republicans, over Democrats, in “dealing with border security” is even greater. Fully 56% of voters say they have more confidence in Republicans to handle border security, 36 points higher than the 20% who put greater trust in Democrats – another all-time GOP high.

Just 8% of registered voters call fifth-place abortion the country’s most important issue, while 18% rank it as either the first or second most pressing. Here, voters have far more confidence in Democrats to do a better job with abortion (47%-25%), giving them a 22-point advantage.

However, when asked which of a candidate’s positions is “more important in deciding your vote for the U.S. Congress,” 59% say “dealing with the cost of living,” while 37% say “abortion.”

Voters were also asked if the U.S. is generally heading in the right direction or heading “off on the wrong track.” Just one in four (27%) like where things are going, while more than twice as many, or two-thirds (68%), don’t.

Among those who feel the nation is on the wrong track, 41% blame the “economy/inflation” as a reason, followed by “Divided nation/Political division” (16%), “Border control/immigration” (16%), Joe Biden (14%) and “Gas Prices” (14%).

Only five percent (5%) of voters who say the U.S. is off-track cite “Women's reproductive rights debate” as a reason.

Regarding President Joe Biden, more voters disapprove than approve of his handling of the issues they deem most important:

  • Economy: 40% approve, 58% disapprove (-18%),
  • Cost of Living: 30% approve, 65% disapprove (-35%)
  • Threats to Democracy: Voters not asked to rate Biden
  • Immigration/Border: 36% approve, 54% disapprove (-18%)
  • Abortion: Voters not asked to rate Biden

The survey of 1,000 registered voters was conducted September 9-13 on behalf of NBC News by Hart Research Associates/Public Opinion Strategies. It has a margin of error of plus-minus 3.1 percentage points.

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