A new High Point University Poll released this week gives insight into how North Carolinians view inflation, rising prices on everything from food to gas and who they feel is most to blame.
The poll, conducted March 18 – March 31, found inflation to be the issue respondents found most important, with 70 percent saying they consider it “very important.” Education and jobs were tied for the second most important issue, with 69 percent saying each of those issues was most important. Health care and crime rounded out the top five, with 67 and 64 percent respectively saying they think the issues is “very important.”
“Inflation has become a top concern among citizens because of what has been happening in the economy,” said Dr. Jerry Fox, interim chair for HPU’s Department of Economics, in a statement on the poll results. “Annual inflation in the U.S. climbed dramatically from 2.7 percent to 8.6 percent over the past year from March 2021 to March 2022. Interestingly, over the same time period, U.S. unemployment declined from 6.0 percent to 3.6 percent. Prices have shot up while joblessness has fallen.”
By a very narrow margin, respondents in the poll said they believe President Joe Biden is most responsible for inflation. While 45 percent of respondents said Biden deserves “a lot” of the blame for current levels of inflation, 45 percent said the same of Russia. Twenty-eight percent of respondents said Russia deserves “some” blame, while 22 percent said the same of Biden.
When asked about the prices they are currently paying for a number of consumer products, gas for their car was the item for which respondents most reported paying a much higher price. Seventy-nine percent of respondents said they were paying a much higher price for gas while 61 percent said the same of meat and 50 percent said the same of natural gas.
But those responses don’t tell the whole story.
“We asked North Carolinians how the increase in gas prices are affecting their household, and a majority told us it has affected them a lot,” said Brian McDonald, associate director of the HPU Poll, in a statement on the results.. “However when it comes to natural gas, these same North Carolinians said that if gas prices rise because the U.S. stops imports from Russia, a majority told us that it is worth the rising costs.”
The full survey, results and methodology can be found here.