Washington

Unpacking Voters’ Perceptions of the Inflation Reduction Act

Measures to address prescription drug costs, budget deficit score higher than renewables push

Joe manchin speaking on the inflation reduction act
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) speaks to reporters about his deal with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Aug. 1, 2022, in Washington, D.C. A Morning Consult/Politico survey found that 10 of the Inflation Reduction Act’s 12 key components hold majority support among voters. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
  • Drug pricing reforms have the support of roughly 3 in 4 voters.

  • About 3 in 5 voters back tax credits for consumers that use renewable household energy sources, while a nearly equal share supports a 15% minimum corporate tax rate.

  • The only measure drawing less than 50% support is $80 billion to the IRS for improved enforcement.

The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 looks set to hit the Senate floor this week with the potential to give Democrats’ congressional majorities a boost ahead of the midterm elections, per a new Morning Consult/Politico survey that suggests the partisan package is likely to strike a chord with the electorate.

The July 29-31 survey — conducted days after Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) concluded months of painstaking negotiations by announcing a deal on legislation they say will fight inflation, lower health care costs, reduce the deficit and help America transition toward renewable energy — found majority support among U.S. voters for 10 of the bill’s 12 key components.

Voters Most Likely to Support Prescription Drug Pricing, Deficit Reduction in Democrats’ Reconciliation Bill

Voters were asked if they support the passage of each of the following provisions in Senate Democrats’ reconciliation bill*:

*The bill was framed as accomplishing a number of the Biden administration’s policy priorities.
Survey conducted July 29-31, 2022, among a representative sample of 2,006 registered voters, with an unweighted margin of error of +/-2 percentage points. Figures may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

While much of the bill was broadly popular, the findings suggest Democrats would do well to emphasize the bill’s contents that aim to bring down prescription drug costs and keep the country’s coffers from sinking into more debt. 

Across the aisle, voters overwhelmingly back Democrats’ drug pricing provisions

The inclusion of drug pricing and Affordable Care Act subsidy measures in Senate Democrats’ reconciliation plan was no surprise, after Manchin previously agreed to a health care-only package weeks before his and Schumer’s July stunner.

The commitment to lowering drug prices appears to be an especially astute political move by Democrats: 77% of voters support caps on prescription drug price increases, 73% are in favor of granting Medicare the ability to negotiate some prescription drug prices and 72% back a $2,000 limit on annual out-of-pocket prescription drug costs for seniors.

All three drug pricing measures are among the most popular policy planks of Democrats’ reconciliation bill, thanks in large part to the backing of roughly 7 in 10 Republican voters for each. A Morning Consult/Politico survey conducted July 8-10 found comparable levels of support for all three provisions.

About 7 in 10 GOP Voters Support Drug Pricing Measures in Senate Democrats’ Reconciliation Bill
Three-year extension of Affordable Care Act subsidies is backed by most voters

Voters were asked if they support the passage of each of the following provisions in Senate Democrats’ reconciliation bill*:

*The bill was framed as accomplishing a number of the Biden administration’s policy priorities.
Survey conducted July 29-31, 2022, among a representative sample of 2,006 registered voters, with an unweighted margin of error of +/-2 percentage points. Figures may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

An extension of ACA subsidies, meanwhile, was slightly altered in Democrats’ package over the past month. Manchin first agreed to a two-year renewal of lowered ACA premiums, a timeline that gave some Democrats pause given that the expiration date would’ve come ahead of the 2024 election. But the revamped package tacked on another year of ACA subsidies, pushing the expiration date to 2025.

The survey found that 56% of voters support a three-year extension of ACA subsidies, including 77% of Democrats, 53% of independents and 36% of Republicans. Those shares are down across the board compared to a July 15-17 Morning Consult/Politico survey that asked voters whether they supported or opposed a two-year renewal of ACA subsidies to address health care costs for plan participants — and perhaps more notably, did not include framing of the provision as a Biden administration priority.

All climate and energy provisions have strong backing from Democrats, while Republicans are mostly opposed

In an unlikely turnaround, Manchin threw his support behind a package that included $369 billion in funding for climate and energy provisions, possibly the biggest climate spending package in U.S. history, with a promised 40% economy-wide cut in carbon emissions by the end of the decade, compared to 2005 levels. 

The announcement stunned environmentalists who had mostly conceded defeat on any new climate spending, putting a dent in Biden’s clean energy goals, especially after the Supreme Court recently delivered another blow by limiting the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate carbon emissions. 

All of the provisions in the legislation are unsurprisingly backed by Democratic voters. But each measure is still supported by at least half of voters overall as well.

At Least Half of Voters Back All Five Climate Provisions in Democrats’ Reconciliation Plan

Voters were asked if they support the passage of each of the following in Senate Democrats’ reconciliation bill*:

*The bill was framed as accomplishing a number of the Biden administration’s policy priorities.
Survey conducted July 29-31, 2022, among a representative sample of 2,006 registered voters, with an unweighted margin of error of +/-2 percentage points. Figures may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

A proposal that offers tax credits for consumers with renewable household energy sources garnered the most support of the energy-related measures, with the backing of roughly 2 in 3 voters, including 1 in 2 Republicans, who were largely opposed to every other climate provision in the package. 

The renewable energy measure would provide credits for installing solar panels and electrifying homes with high-efficiency electric devices powered by renewable energy sources, including the replacement of fossil-fuel furnaces, boilers, water heaters and stoves. Nearly 4 in 5 Democrats and 3 in 5 independent voters also backed the measure. 

Electric vehicle tax credits, which Manchin had opposed in earlier negotiations, had the least amount of support from voters, though half still backed it. About 7 in 10 Democrats supported the EV tax credits, while roughly 3 in 10 Republicans said the same.

The electric vehicle provision includes for the first time ever a credit of up to $4,000 for pre-owned vehicles, aimed at lower- and middle-income households, while still offering a $7,500 credit for new EVs, though with a few caveats for where the minerals are mined.

Just over half of voters backed the idea of a methane fee for the oil and gas industry, which Manchin had previously said he was open to including in the reconciliation bill. Again, about 7 in 10 Democrats supported the provision while nearly half of GOP voters opposed the fee, which could cost as much as $1,500 a ton in 2026 for some operators.

The remaining energy and climate measures had support from over half of voters, including $60 billion in incentives for clean energy manufacturing in the United States (56%) and $369 billion in climate and energy programs over the next 10 years (54%).

Voters support 15% corporate tax and deficit reduction, but Republicans and independents aren’t sold on $80 billion in IRS funding

The financial engine fueling Democrats’ latest spending package is a 15% minimum tax to be levied on corporations with at least $1 billion in annual income, an approach that would especially target those that have typically managed to pay less than the 21% corporate tax rate thanks to deductions and credits. 

Voters on both sides of the aisle are more likely to back the plan than oppose it, with about 4 in 5 Democrats and roughly half of Republicans backing the idea of a minimum corporate tax. However, the plan doesn’t go far enough for some factions in the White House; the tax plan as outlined in the bill would not meet the same standards as the global minimum tax plan being brokered by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and championed by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

Nearly 2 in 3 Voters Support Democrats’ Plans to Levy 15% Corporate Minimum Tax
Most voters support measures in Democrats’ new spending package to reduce the deficit, but plans to boost IRS funding fall flat among independents and Republicans

Voters were asked if they support the passage of each of the following provisions in Senate Democrats’ reconciliation bill*:

*The bill was framed as accomplishing a number of the Biden administration’s policy priorities.
Survey conducted July 29-31, 2022, among a representative sample of 2,006 registered voters, with an unweighted margin of error of +/-2 percentage points. Figures may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

Another income-generating measure in the proposal was much less popular, however: an additional $80 billion to the Internal Revenue Service to improve its operations. More than half of those funds would be aimed at increasing enforcement actions, such as audits, and Democrats say that boosting enforcement would help net the government an estimated $124 billion in revenue. 

While 3 in 5 Democratic voters supported the funding to the agency to improve enforcement, 57% of Republicans and 42% of independents opposed it. The IRS funding injection follows years of budget decreases for the agency, which culminated in a massive backlog that was exacerbated by COVID-19 staffing issues, and resulted in billions spent in interest payments to refund recipients who waited months for their returns. 

Meanwhile, voters overwhelmingly favored Democrats’ plans to reduce the federal budget deficit by $300 billion, with more than 7 in 10 voters across political parties saying they support the measures. Democratic lawmakers aiming to push the bill through the Senate chamber in the coming days are also hoping the deficit-busting measures will win the approval of Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), who has been silent on her support for the bill. 

The latest Morning Consult/Politico survey was conducted July 28-31, 2022, among a representative sample of 2,006 registered U.S. voters, with an unweighted margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.