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Americans' shifting political concerns pose a midterms challenge for Democrats

According to a new Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll, Americans' political concerns are shifting ahead of 2022 midterm elections in perhaps quite a challenging way for Democrats.

More specifically, the AP-NORC poll found that "management of the pandemic, once an issue that strongly favored [President Biden] and his fellow Democrats, is beginning to recede in the minds of Americans," AP writes. Instead, worries about COVID find themselves overshadowed by economic and inflationary concerns, issues typically associated with Republicans.

By the numbers, only 37 percent of Americans ranked COVID as one of their top five administration priorities in 2022, versus 53 percent who labeled it a "leading priority" this time last year. Rather, much like last year, sixty-eight percent of respondents in some way mentioned the economy as a concern for 2022, though mentions of inflation "are much higher now: 14% this year, compared with less than 1% last year," AP writes.

The changing sentiment represents a challenge for Dems, who hope to hold on to Congress following what's sure to be a contentious midterms cycle. Voters previously handed Democrats control of the White House and Congress because they trusted them to handle the virus; now, as cases continue to surge and COVID fatigue sets in, can Democrats count on the pandemic alone to deliver them a win?

Co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee Adam Green believes success is possible should the party manage to ease COVID fears while simultaneously achieving "tangible policy results," AP writes.

"I don't think we're going to win an election for lack of anxiety," Green told AP, "if we've achieved nothing else."

The AP-NORC poll surveyed 1,089 adults from Dec. 2-7, 2021. Results have a margin of error of 4.1 percentage points. See more results at The Associated Press.