Americans are less concerned with the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and are more worried about current economic issues, inflation and poor leadership.
According to a Gallup poll taken November 1-16, 10 percent of the respondents feel that the dwindling economy is the biggest issue facing the nation. Another seven percent said they are worried about inflation the most. Those numbers are up from six percent and one percent, respectively. (Related: ‘Shortage Economy’: Steve Bannon warns ‘dark winter’ coming.)
Unemployment concerns are at five percent this month, which is up from four percent in both the September and October polls. The new worries come as inflation spikes, worker shortages continue and supply chain delays persist going into the holiday season.
The poll also shows that Republicans are much more concerned with inflation than Democrats – by an 11 percent to 1 percent margin. The results were released after reports emerged this month of tensions and turmoil within the administration, specifically between President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
More than twice the amount of Americans name the government as their top issue over the economy in general, with 21 percent saying that’s their top priority in November.
Concerns about the pandemic is decreasing as only 13 percent of those surveyed feel COVID-19 is the “most important” problem the country is facing. Last September, 21 percent of respondents were most concerned about the pandemic response.
During a COVID-19 surge in August, 26 percent of respondents felt the pandemic was the biggest concern facing the United States. In the early stages of the outbreak in April 2020, 45 percent of people felt it was the top issue.
In the latest survey, nine percent were most concerned with immigration, six percent felt unifying the country was most important and five percent worried about race relations and racism.
Kamala Harris feels increasingly isolated inside the White House as her approval ratings plummet. The first female vice president believes she’s not getting the same support given to other members of the Biden administration.
“It’s hard to miss the specific energy that the White House brings to defend a white man, knowing that Kamala Harris has spent almost a year taking a lot of the hits that the West Wing didn’t want to take themselves,” a former Harris aide told CNN, which based its report on interviews with nearly three dozen insiders.
The Biden administration defended Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg for taking paternity leave amid the global supply chain crisis. Buttigieg is considered a potential challenger to Harris for the Democratic presidential nomination either in 2024 or 2028.
Despite their public show of unity, Biden and his right-hand woman have a dysfunctional relationship that has reached an “exhausted stalemate,” according to the network.
At a time when the president would usually be expected to promote his vice president as a future replacement, Biden has instead been sidelining Harris as a potential liability, the report said.
For their part, Harris’ allies are reportedly frustrated with the president for dumping politically fraught issues in her lap – including the ongoing illegal immigration crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border. “They’re consistently sending her out there on losing issues in the wrong situations for her skill set,” summed up one former top Harris aide. (Related: Illegal immigration skyrockets under Biden to third-highest level in 97 years.)
Other aides say the vice president should have asked for better-defined responsibilities at the start of the administration, but has not done so out of fear of appearing disloyal to the president.
In March, Biden announced that Harris would lead the administration’s talks with Mexico and Central American countries about slowing the tide of migrants crossing the U.S. border.
However, with the exception of a rocky visit to Mexico and Guatemala in early June and a brief trip to El Paso at the end of that month, Harris has largely avoided the issue in public.
Last month, while Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Attorney General Merrick Garland and Homeland Security Chief Alejandro Mayorkas met with their Mexican counterparts about the issue, Harris was in New Jersey to promote Biden’s multitrillion-dollar social spending bill.
Insiders said the West Wing has been especially bothered by Harris’ handling of the border issue. The vice president’s s trip to Mexico and Guatemala was overshadowed by a disastrous interview with NBC‘s Lester Holt, in which Harris said she hadn’t yet been to the frontier region while jokingly adding: “And I haven’t been to Europe.”
Immigration advocates have also expressed disappointment with Harris. Fernando Garcia, executive director of Border Network for Human Rights, told CNN that he was optimistic Harris would take action, but she instead just “disappeared.”
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