CNN Poll: Economy and education could shape how Americans vote in 2022

A majority of voters (59%) said the economy would be extremely important for their vote in Congress this year, 55% said the same about inflation and 49% about taxes. Concerns about the economy were not as widespread in any of CNN’s mid-term polls in 2002 and reached a similar level only in the summer of 2010 (56%).

The right to vote also became a priority in the latest poll: 55% of respondents called them extremely important. Although poll dates were superimposed on the end of the Omicron version, a relatively low 38% of respondents said the coronavirus pandemic was extremely important for their mid-term voting.

There are noticeable guerrilla differences. Republican and Republican voters were the most united in considering inflation (69%) and the economy (68%) as key issues, with 60% also calling immigration important, while Democratic and Democratic voters were the most important. reached for the right to vote (65%)) and health (60%). The biggest party gap is due to climate change: pro-democracy voters, about 5 times more likely than Republican voters, will call it extremely important, from 52% to 10%.

Twenty-four percent of voters said they voted with great enthusiasm in this year’s by-elections, identical to the level of enthusiasm in February 2018. But compared to four years ago, it is the Republican Party, which now leads in enthusiasm – 30% of Republicans and Republican voters have already expressed extreme enthusiasm compared to 22% of voters inclined to democracy and democracy.

According to the poll, voters were almost equal in their preferences between the two parties. Forty-four percent said they preferred to vote for the Republican candidate, and 43% said the same for the Democratic candidate, similar to responses in a CNN poll last summer. 41 percent said the country would be better off if Republicans seized Congress, and 36 percent said it would worsen the situation. Twenty-two percent said it would make no difference.

With a margin of 10 points, from 42% to 32%, voters said they preferred a candidate for Congress who opposes President Joe Biden to those who support him, and the rest said they had no advantage. With a larger margin of 17 points, from 44% to 27%, voters also said they prefer a candidate who opposes former President Donald Trump rather than someone who supports him. Two-thirds of pro-Democratic voters saw Biden’s support for the candidates as an advantage (68%), while a more modest 53% of Republicans and Republicans said the same about Trump.

The polls are isolated shots in time, and due to the fact that America has just emerged from the unprecedented wave of Covid-19, this is a particularly volatile moment. The results cannot predict what the political environment or electorate may look like this fall, or what problems voters will have in mind. Even if voters agree that a particular issue is important, they often approach it from a variety of angles.

Attitudes toward education – a problem that emerged as a focal point in the 2021 gubernatorial elections in Virginia and New Jersey – are a good example: 46% of voters, including about half of parents with children under the age of 18, said that education will be extremely important for their vote in Congress this year. Half of Democratic voters (50%) and 42% of Republican voters call the issue very important.

When those who said education was extremely important to their vote were asked why, their responses covered a wide range of issues. The largest share, 31%, said it was due to the broad social benefits of education rather than the recent political controversy. A quarter said education was an important issue because of the school curriculum or content, including about 7% of those who specifically named the term “critical racial theory” or how history is taught, and 1% expressed concern about Republican efforts to shaping curriculum.

Among other reasons, 6% mentioned the pandemic, including 3% concerned that students were lagging behind, 2% mentioned personal learning and 1% mentioned the school mask.

But views on what makes education important are also divided. Republicans and Republican independents, who focus on education as an intermediate issue, were more likely than Democrats and Democrats to cite curriculum or school quality as a problem (33% vs. 16%), while Democrat-prone voters were more focused on school funding and spending than their Republican counterparts (21% vs. 6%).

While parental choices have been the subject of frequent political controversy, a CNN poll found that most Americans reject the idea that primary responsibility for what happens in the classroom rests with either parents or teachers and school officials. Most stated that both groups should play an equally important role in school decision-making, ranging from precautions against Covid-19 to the way different school subjects are taught.

There are also differences depending on the issue. Only about one-fifth of Americans (19%) said parents should be the main decision-makers on mask policy, with 17% saying the same about virtual learning and 16% about teaching racial issues. Only 7% believe that parents should have the last word on how to teach math.

Opinions about politics, which have been most common in the news lately, are mostly in the middle. About 1 in 8 Americans, or 12%, said parents’ views should have the greatest impact on what library books are on the shelves and how American history is taught, while about twice as many say teachers and school officials should have greater impact on their areas. Respondents shared equally about how race-related issues are taught in America: 16% said parents should have more expression, 16% teachers and school officials, and 62% said both should be equally important.

The CNN survey was conducted by the SSRS from Jan. 10 to Feb. 6 among a random national sample of 1,527 adults originally sent by mail, and is the second survey that CNN conducted using this methodology. Surveys were conducted online or by telephone with a live interviewer. The results for the full sample have a sampling error of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.

Jennifer Agiesta of CNN contributed to this report.

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