For Biden’s approval rating to go up, it’s obvious what needs to go down.
U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on economic growth, jobs and deficit reduction at the Roosevelt Room at the White House in Washington, U.S. May 4, 2022.
Evelyn Hockstein | Reuters
Fewer small business owners are now approving Joe Biden’s performance as president than a year ago. In fact, small business owners are twice as likely to disapprove of Biden as they approve of him. CNBC|Small Business Survey SurveyMonkeywhich was held from April 18 to 25 among 2027 small business owners in the United States.
Biden’s approval among this group has not changed over the past three quarters, but few small business owners at the time were particularly focused on politics. Instead, inflation has dominated Main Street for the third consecutive quarter. In this latest survey, about four in ten small business owners (38%) report that inflation is the biggest risk to their business right now, which is at least twice the number of those who point to supply chain disruptions (19%) , labor shortage (13%). ), or Covid-19 (13%).
About three in four small business owners say they are currently facing rising supply costs, a figure that has remained unchanged since the fourth quarter of 2021.
Among those facing rising costs, 40% say they have to raise prices to keep up, and another 35% plan to raise prices if their costs continue to rise.
However, there remains 24% of those who absorb rising costs without raising prices themselves. With inflation rising across all sectors, small businesses are perhaps the most reluctant to raise their own prices because they lack the power to help large corporations maintain their dominance.
One of the problems with inflation is how quickly it can get out of control: as prices rise at each stage of production, they push prices even further at each subsequent stage. Also, as prices rise, companies are forced to raise wages, but these higher wages result in consumers being able to spend more money, and the cycle continues.
But you won’t see much acceptance of price gouging on Main Street. Small business owners seem to be particularly reluctant to take advantage of the current inflationary environment by passing on higher costs to their customers. Overall, twice as many small business owners say now is not the right time to raise prices than they are saying now is a good time to raise prices.
Clearly, small business owners cannot fight inflation on their own; it is up to the Federal Reserve and the Biden administration to determine policy changes that could limit widespread price increases. So far, few people on Main Street are impressed by the reaction.
This quarter, only 27% of small business owners said they have confidence in the Federal Reserve’s ability to control inflation, which is almost exactly the same as last quarter’s 28%. On Wednesday, Chairman Jerome Powell announced that the Fed would raise interest rates by half a percentage point, the first such move since recent inflation kicked in last year.
It’s no coincidence that when inflation began to pick up last fall, small business owners’ approval of Joe Biden’s performance as president plummeted—and it has remained that way ever since. Over the first three quarters of his presidency, Biden averaged a 42% small business approval rating: not great, but not terrible either, given that most small business owners are more supportive of the Republican Party than Democrats.
Over the past three quarters, Biden’s approval rating has fallen to 30 points, and now fewer small business owners approve of Biden than ever before. Other polls suggest Biden needs to manage inflation to bolster his lagging job approval.
As in our quarterly poll, Biden’s approval in opinion polls began to fall last fall, just as inflation began to pick up. FiveThirtyEight’s presidential approval tracking system points to August 29, 2021 as a tipping point, with Biden’s disapproval surpassing his approval in the poll average. Even at that time, the rate of price growth was breaking records.
In a new poll from The Washington Post and ABC News, approval for Biden’s work increased slightly from February to April and now stands at 42% overall. That number is still well below the 52 percent mark Biden received in the first Washington Post/ABC News poll of his presidency last April.
This latest poll is especially prescriptive for Biden because he asked questions about various aspects of presidential approval. Even though his overall approval rating is low, the majority of U.S. adults (51%) approve of Biden’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. There is less approval for his handling of the Russia/Ukraine situation, his ability to create jobs, or his overall management of the economy. And at the very bottom of the list, only 28% approve of how he handles inflation.
Presidents are receiving praise for a strong economy in good times and blaming it for its plight in bad times, as Biden is experiencing now. With inflation in the spotlight across the country, including on Main Street, Biden’s job endorsement won’t recover if he doesn’t take it on.