Finance

Biden Has Pinned Inflation on Large Businesses, and Over Half of Voters Seem to Agree

But nearly 3 in 5 voters still blame Biden’s policies for rising prices

Artist Nelson Saiers installs his latest "Cheap Money No. 2" sculpture at “The Wall Street Bull” in response to the U.S. Federal Reserve's actions and inflation on Dec. 07, 2021, in New York City. Fifty-four percent of voters said that little competition among some large companies is to blame for inflation, according to a new Morning Consult/Politico poll. (Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for Nelson Saiers)

In recent weeks, President Joe Biden has attempted to shift the blame for higher prices away from his administration and toward large companies. The administration has specifically targeted oil and gas giants and meatpackers, saying that because they have little competition, they are able to pass higher costs on to consumers. Republicans maintain that the Biden administration’s policies are largely to blame for higher prices. 

New Morning Consult and Politico polling shows that most voters appear to agree with both of these arguments.

What the numbers say

  • Fifty-four percent of voters said that little competition among some large companies is responsible for inflation. 
  • That figure is higher among Democrats at 63 percent, but nearly half of Republicans (47 percent) said the same. 

Beyond the numbers 

For months, Biden has battled the perception of inflation and his administration’s role in it. The poll was conducted as “I did that!” stickers — which show the president pointing toward everything from gas prices to empty grocery store shelves — continued showing up across the country and as rhetoric about rising inflation continued to dominate news cycles. 

In response to questions about the new Morning Consult/Politico data, a White House official said that the country needs “an economy that has the capacity to generate more growth, more jobs and more opportunity for all Americans. That’s why we’re going to keep doing everything we can to, one, unstick the bottlenecks that are keeping goods from getting to consumers; two, build better infrastructure so that we can get parts and goods to factory floors quicker and cheaper; three, bring more of that production back here to the United States.” 

Within the administration, there’s been some debate about how to present the inflation issue to the public. A source familiar with the matter confirmed earlier reporting from The Washington Post, showing that some Treasury Department officials are skeptical about the move to blame large companies and a lack of competition for rising prices, saying the administration should instead focus on reducing prices via easing up on tariffs.  

What the numbers say

  • Voters are narrowly more likely to blame the Biden administration for inflation than corporations, 59 percent to 54 percent. 
  • Over time, the share of voters who hold the Biden administration’s policies responsible for inflation has remained relatively steady. 
  • After the most recent Consumer Price Index report, which showed a nearly 40-year high in inflation for December, the share of voters who blame Biden for price increases ticked down 3 percentage points — just outside the polls’ 2-point margin of error. 

The Jan. 15-16, 2022, poll was conducted among a representative sample of 2,005 registered voters, with an unweighted margin of error of +/-2 percentage points.