More Americans now blame inflation on large corporations than did so last October

Carl BialikU.S. Politics Editor and Vice President of Data Science
Taylor OrthDirector of Survey Data Journalism
July 07, 2023, 4:51 PM GMT+0

A recent YouGov poll reasked questions about inflation first asked of Americans in October 2022, revealing insights into whom Americans blame for the issue and what they think should be done about it.

Americans' views on many issues related to inflation appear to have remained stable from last fall to the latest poll, conducted in June — including the shares who say the president has control over inflation, who say they're being personally affected by inflation, and who say their income has kept up with inflation.

Some questions, however, revealed more change in opinion. For example, fewer Americans now negatively evaluate the economies of the world, Europe, and the UK compared to last October. The shares of Americans who say the global, European, and UK economies are in "poor" shape have fallen significantly by 9, 11, and 15 percentage points, respectively. There was no similar change in how Americans regard the U.S. economy: 45% rate it as poor. By comparison, just 28% say the global economy is in poor shape, 17% say so about Europe's economy, and 19% say so about the UK's. (The shares of Americans who say the economies of the world, Europe, and the UK are excellent or good also have gone up since October 2022, though the changes are more modest.)

On inflation, American views on the extent to which nearly a dozen entities are to blame have changed little — with one exception. Since October 2022, the share of Americans who say that "large corporations seeking maximum profits" deserve "a lot" of blame for inflation has risen 9 points, to 61% from 52%.

This change is most pronounced among Independents, with a 13-point increase in the share placing a lot of blame for inflation on large corporations seeking maximum profits. There has been a 10-point increase among Democrats and a 5-point increase among Republicans.

There is also an age component to the shift: Among the younger age group of adults aged 18 to 44, views shifted 17 points, with 61% now blaming corporations a lot compared to 44% who did so last October.

Americans are somewhat less likely to say that Republicans, rather than Democrats, have a more effective plan to reduce inflation — compared to their views in October 2022. Today, 28% think the Republican Party has a better plan, 27% think the Democratic Party does, and 28% think neither party does. Seven months ago, Republicans led Democrats on this question, 34% to 28%.

Declining confidence in the Republican Party's plan to reduce inflation is concentrated among people who identify as Republicans (72% now say their party has the most effective plan, compared to 84% in October) as well as Independents (17% now, 24% then).

Both surveys also asked Americans to assess how 16 policies would affect inflation, and our analysis found one significant shift: an 8-point increase in the share who say that "having the government enforce limits on price increases" would decrease inflation either a little or a lot. An increase among Republicans and Independents in belief this would decrease inflation was most responsible for this change.

Increasing domestic oil production and investing in strengthening the supply chain are the only policies asked about that majorities of both Democrats and Republicans think would be effective at reducing inflation. A handful of other policies are seen as effective by a majority of Democrats or a majority of Republicans, but not both. Three in five Republicans say it would be effective to cut taxes and 53% say reducing aid to Ukraine would help. The two solutions that each are seen as effective by a majority of Democrats — but not of Republicans — are fining companies for price gouging (60%) and enforcing price limits (57%).

See the results for this YouGov poll

Related: What Americans know — or think they know — about inflation

Methodology: This poll was conducted online on June 8 - 20, 2023 among 1,000 U.S. adult citizens. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel using sample matching. A random sample (stratified by gender, age, race, education, geographic region, and voter registration) was selected from the 2019 American Community Survey. The sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, education, 2020 election turnout and presidential vote, baseline party identification, and current voter registration status. Demographic weighting targets come from the 2019 American Community Survey. Baseline party identification is the respondent’s most recent answer given prior to March 15, 2022, and is weighted to the estimated distribution at that time (33% Democratic, 28% Republican). The margin of error for the overall sample is approximately 3%.

Image: Getty Images (Peter Cade)

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