NEW POLL: Voters Overwhelmingly Reject Larry Summers’ Plan to Fight Inflation with Massive Unemployment, Recession

July 14, 2022 Groundwork Collaborative

Today, the Groundwork Collaborative and Data for Progress released a new poll showing that voters overwhelmingly oppose former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers’ calls to address inflation by slowing the economy and sending unemployment skyrocketing. This poll follows yesterday’s Consumer Price Index report showing year-over-year inflation at 9.1% – a four-decade high.

“Larry Summers’ cure for fighting inflation is worse than the disease itself,” Groundwork Executive Director Lindsay Owens said. “Manufacturing a recession and throwing millions out of work to bring down prices is not only cruel, it also reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of why prices are rising in the first place.”

Below is a topline summary of the poll results. You can view the full results here.

  • Summers’ argument – that we need to raise the unemployment rate above 5% over the next five years to tame inflation – is highly unpopular. Voters oppose this argument by a -25-point margin – including strong majorities of Democrats, Republicans, and independents. 
  • Summers’ argument – that we need higher unemployment and a slower economy to address inflation – is the least popular response to inflation among voters. The most popular messages emphasize public investments and holding corporations accountable to address inflation. 
  • A near-majority (47%) view inflation as the largest economic problem facing the country today. The next largest problem is “fuel costs or the price of gas” (16%) – making rising prices the top economic concern across the board.
  • Voters are convinced that corporate profiteering is driving inflation. When asked what was contributing most to inflation, the top pick by those surveyed was “large corporations taking advantage of the pandemic to raise prices” at 26%.
  • When asked to choose between blaming “corporations taking advantage of the pandemic to raise prices” or “too much government spending” head-to-head, 49% of those surveyed blamed corporations – compared to 43% blaming government spending. 

“Voters do not accept the idea that raising unemployment is the only way to curtail inflation,” Ethan Winter, a lead analyst at Data for Progress, said. “Rather, a strong majority think that broad investments in health care and energy costs are the best path to growing the economy and reducing costs for families.”

This latest polling builds on a May poll that shows voters strongly believe corporations are raising prices unfairly to earn record profits. To set up an interview with Data for Progress or Groundwork, email