Finance

Voters Point to Profit Maximization, Supply Chain Woes When Asked About Companies’ Role in Inflation

About 1 in 10 voters blame rising labor costs for persistently high consumer prices

Image of prices displayed outside grocery store amid inflation
Prices are advertised outside a grocery store along a busy street in the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn on June 15, 2022. A Morning Consult/Politico survey found that 32% of registered voters think companies’ efforts to maximize profits is contributing most to inflation, while an equal share said the same of supply chain issues. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

As policymakers continue to play political hot-potato over rising consumer prices — including Democrats’ attempts to make “greedflation” happen —  a new Morning Consult/Politico survey indicates that voters attribute companies’ role in inflation to two main drivers: profit-seeking and supply chain challenges. 

A Third of Voters View Supply Chain Issues, Companies’ Attempts to Maximize Profits as Reasons for Inflation

Thinking specifically about companies’ role in rising prices, registered voters were asked which of the following they believe is contributing the most to inflation:

Survey conducted June 17-20, 2022, among a representative sample of 2,004 registered voters, with an unweighted margin of error of +/-2 percentage points. Don’t know/No opinion responses are not shown.

Bipartisan agreement on supply chain’s effect on inflation

  • Voters were split on which company-related cause was most responsible for inflation, with 32% believing that companies’ efforts to maximize profits was the top contributor to inflation and an equal share saying supply chain issues were to blame. 
  • Democrats (46%) were more than twice as likely as Republicans (20%) to believe companies’ attempts to maximize profits were driving higher prices. 
  • Three in 10 Democrats and roughly a third of independents and Republicans blamed supply chain issues for companies’ role in inflation, while about 1 in 10 Democrats, independents and Republicans tagged rising labor costs as the primary culprit. 
  • When asked whether a recession would be preferable to inflation if the former brought prices down, 38% of voters said they’d take the recession, while 35% said they didn’t know or had no opinion and 27% said they would rather continue to battle high prices than suffer through a recession.  

Democrats’ efforts to pin inflation blame on corporations 

Democrats’ public efforts to shift blame to companies have included anti-price-gouging legislation for gasoline and calls to investigate baby formula companies amid shortages and skyrocketing prices. 

The Biden administration is working to tackle at least one major pain point for consumers by trying to ease gas prices. White House staffers are reportedly brainstorming ways to ease gas prices, even considering rebates in the form of gas cards provided to consumers. The administration is considering a gas tax holiday, saving consumers roughly 18 cents per gallon. 

Economists continue to point to wage pressures from the roaring job market as a source of rising prices. Former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers has said the country would need to see five years of unemployment above 5% to bring inflation back down to acceptable levels. 

The June 17-20, 2022, survey was conducted among a representative sample of 2,004 registered voters, with an unweighted margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

Morning Consult