Where Biden can put points on the board with prices and gas

“Biden must make his 2024 campaign a war on high prices—an area where he has the upper hand,” said Evan Roth Smith, Blueprint’s head pollster.

Jan. 10, 2024

Blueprint, the new 2024 public opinion research initiative designed to take a sober look at what Democrats need to do to win in 2024, today released its latest poll all about cost-of-living issues. As the shape of the 2024 general election comes into view, it is clear that prices and inflation will be one of—if not the—defining issues of the race.

Blueprint’s newest data provides key insights into how President Biden can elevate his accomplishments and policy approaches to send a clearer, more effective message on all he has done to bring down prices and fight for everyday Americans:

  • Voters believe a number of Biden’s accomplishments will both reduce inflation and benefit them personally—policies the president can and should take every opportunity to tout as part of his ongoing efforts to address voters’ concerns about prices.
  • When it comes to energy policy, voters’ preferences are more aligned with their perceptions of Biden’s approach than with Trump’s, indicating that Biden should fully embrace his “all of the above” energy policy in his messaging in order to get the credit he deserves when it comes to reducing gas prices.

“These findings show there is fertile ground for Biden when it comes to messaging on one of voters’ biggest concerns: prices. Voters already see many of Biden’s accomplishments as policies that will bring down prices—although these are not always the accomplishments that are driving the news cycle or the campaign schedule. Biden should seize every opportunity to take credit for these accomplishments,” said Evan Roth Smith, Blueprint’s head pollster. “When it comes to energy, Biden is pursuing the all-of-the-above policies the American people want—pursuing energy independence policies, unlocking America’s vast natural resources to tackle gas prices, and shifting to renewables—while Trump is totally out of step by leaning into an outdated ‘drill baby drill’ message that no longer resonates with voters. Biden has a bona fide leg up on energy, and a full explanation of his policy is a winner with voters.”

“Biden must make his 2024 campaign a war on high prices—an area where he has the upper hand,” Roth Smith continued. “Rather than waiting for media referees to award Biden points, the campaign must put them up on the scoreboard itself where voters can see.”

TOP TAKEAWAYS & FINDINGS

Voters think a number of Biden’s accomplishments will reduce inflation and benefit them; Biden should take every opportunity to tout these accomplishments when addressing prices

  • We asked voters which Biden policies would benefit them and which would not. The Biden policies that voters most believed would benefit them personally were investing in agricultural supply chains to reduce food prices (78%), banning companies from charging hidden or misleading “junk fees” for products and services, (73%), using antitrust to enforce laws against price gouging and price fixing (71%), expanding Social Security benefits (68%), allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug pricing to lower the cost of prescription drugs (65%), and reducing the federal deficit by $1.7 trillion (65%).
  • The Biden policies voters most thought would reduce inflation were investing in agricultural supply chains to reduce food prices (54% reduce inflation), allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug pricing to lower the cost of prescription drugs (46% reduce inflation), reducing the federal deficit by $1.7 trillion (49% reduce inflation), using antitrust to enforce laws against price gouging and price fixing (47% reduce inflation), and approving more permits for domestic oil and gas drilling than any previous president (45% reduce inflation).
  • The Biden policies voters least believed would benefit them personally were tax rebates for people buying electric vehicles (27%), canceling $10,000 in student debt (29%), requiring agreements with labor unions on all large federal construction projects (33%), capping insulin costs at $35 a month for seniors (33%), and standing with striking workers demanding higher pay (34%).
  • We also asked voters which Biden policies they thought would increase, reduce, or have no effect on inflation. The policies that voters most thought would increase inflation were requiring agreements with labor unions on all large federal construction projects (33% increase inflation), tax rebates for people buying electric vehicles (34% increase inflation), standing with striking workers demanding higher pay (43% increase inflation), and canceling $10,000 in student debt (45% increase inflation).

Policies that voters view as simultaneously reducing inflation and benefiting them provide Biden with particularly fertile ground for more effective messaging around prices

  • On a measure that combines voter perceptions of whether a policy will benefit them personally and whether it will reduce inflation, the strongest Biden policies were investing in agricultural supply chains to reduce food prices (78% personal benefit, 54% reduce inflation), using antitrust to enforce laws against price gouging and price fixing (71% personal benefit, 47% reduce inflation), banning companies from charging hidden or misleading “junk fees” for products and services (73% personal benefit, 41% reduce inflation), reducing the federal deficit by $1.7 trillion (65% personal benefit, 49% reduce inflation), allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug pricing to lower the cost of prescription drugs (65% personal benefit, 45% reduce inflation), and approving more permits for domestic oil and gas drilling than any previous president (55% personal benefit, 45% reduce inflation).
  • On the same combined measure, the weakest Biden policies were requiring agreements with labor unions on all large federal construction projects (33% personal benefit, 21% reduce inflation), standing with striking workers demanding higher pay (34% personal benefit, 19% reduce inflation), canceling $10,000 in student debt (29% personal benefit, 20% reduce inflation), and tax rebates for people buying electric vehicles (27% personal benefit, 21% reduce inflation).

When it comes to energy policy, voters are more aligned with Biden than with Trump; Biden can elevate his “all of the above” approach to energy to ensure voters are aware of what he has done to bring down gas prices

  • When asked which approach to energy policy they most prefer, 15% of voters (including just 9% of independents) said “We should rely mostly on fossil fuels to power our economy,” while fully 60% (including 72% of independents) said “We should use an all-of-the-above strategy that includes fossil fuels and renewable energy sources,” and 25% (including 18% of independents) said “We should end the use of fossil fuels and switch exclusively to renewable energy sources.”
  • On Biden’s approach to energy policy, 10% of voters believe that he favored relying mostly on fossil fuels, 43% believed he favored an all-of-the-above strategy that includes fossil fuels and renewable energy sources, and 47% believed he favored ending the use of fossil fuels and switching exclusively to renewable energy sources. Meanwhile, on Trump’s approach to energy policy, 50% of voters believe that he favored relying mostly on fossil fuels, 40% believed he favored an all-of-the-above strategy that includes fossil fuels and renewable energy sources, and 10% believed he favored ending the use of fossil fuels and switching exclusively to renewable energy sources.
  • Only 29% of voters are aware that Biden has increased oil and gas drilling. 35% believe he kept it the same and 36% believe he decreased it.
  • The majority of voters (50%) believe that Biden is less supportive of oil and gas drilling than they are, including 61% of independents. Only 17% of voters believe that Biden’s views on oil and gas drilling are close to theirs.
  • In other words, voters’ preferences are mirrored in their perceptions of Biden’s energy policy—pursuing energy independence policies, unlocking resources to tackle gas prices, and shifting to renewables—while views Trump’s approach are out of step with the electorate. Biden should take full advantage of this alignment, using it to close the gap between perception and reality to send a strong message about what he’s done to bring down gas prices.

About the Poll 

Blueprint commissioned a survey conducted by YouGov of 1,012 voters from Dec. 2 to Dec. 5. nationally, using web panel respondents. The survey was conducted in English, and its margin of error is ±3.4 percentage points.

Supporting Materials

Linked here is a Google Drive to download our full suite of materials from this poll, including:

  • Toplines and crosstabs
  • “Pop-up pollster”: An annotated guide to our topline, with commentary from pollster Evan Roth Smith
  • Interested Parties Memo: The War on Prices, Biden’s Untapped Triumphs
  • A full polling deck from Evan’s presentation with charts and highlights from the poll

About Blueprint

Blueprint is a public opinion research initiative designed to study the most crucial voting groups and which policies and messages are breaking through and resonating with them. Through frequent polling and message testing on the most salient political issues, Blueprint will provide insights and recommendations on how to reach the voters who will be essential to delivering the Democrats the White House and control of Congress in 2024. Going beyond the scope of typical message testing, Blueprint will examine whether voters have even heard of or are convinced by the underlying accomplishments that President Biden is spreading the message about, and who voters think these policies are meant to serve.

Blueprint does not advocate for any specific policy agenda; this effort is focused on identifying messaging and narratives (including those that are out-of-the-box or contrary to current conventional wisdom) that will produce winning coalitions for Democrats in 2024.

There is a widely shared view that the central vulnerability that Democrats face in 2024 is not the quality of our current governance or policies, but rather our inability to create a compelling narrative that can sway voters in the most fiercely contested states and congressional districts across the country. Using state-of-the-art polling that incorporates pollster analysis and highly actionable practitioner-oriented data, Blueprint will help campaigns and other stakeholders see where voters stand and how Biden and the Democratic Party can best appeal to those who will shape the outcome of the 2024 elections, including independents and swing voters.

Blueprint also aims to be a go-to resource for the media. Three years into the Biden presidency and a year out from the general election, journalists are diving into why the president’s approval ratings remain low and why he’s not getting more credit for his accomplishments. As the 2024 cycle progresses, Blueprint’s polling and research will serve as a vital tool for answering these and other questions.
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