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Higher inflation is no longer hypothetical—and it has Americans worried

July 7, 2021, 7:30 PM UTC

At its last reading in June, the Consumer Price Index was up 5% year-over-year. That’s the highest inflation uptick since 2008. 

Soon after that data was published, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell went in front of Congress and reaffirmed his belief that rising inflation is “transitory” and price growth will cool once pent-up demand runs its course. Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers is less optimistic. Summers agrees some of the hike is “transitory,” however, he also thinks the huge increase in fiscal spending—a $1.9 trillion package in March—runs the risk of overheating the economy and causing more hikes. 

Regardless of why it is happening, it’s eating into household budgets. To see how concerned Americans are about rising prices, Fortune teamed up with Momentive (formerly known as SurveyMonkey) to poll more than 2,000 U.S. adults between June 11 and 14. We did a similar poll between April 30 and May 3

Our finding? Inflation fears continue to rise. Among U.S. adults, 87% say they’re concerned about inflation—including 63% who say they’re “very concerned” about inflation. That latter figure is up from 57% in our May poll. If these fears continue to rise, it could translate into shifting consumers behaviors—maybe even making some consumers risk averse. 

In our Fortune Analytics issue on May 7 we told readers that our data suggested if inflation picked up, it could turn into a political issue. Since then, official inflation has risen, and subsequently more Republicans are blaming the White House. Look no further than Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell calling attention to “raging inflation” last week while also knocking Democratic spending. It’s no surprise that GOP leaders are latching onto price hikes: When it comes to inflation, a significantly higher percentage of Republicans (78%) are “very concerned” about inflation compared to their Democratic peers (47%). But what’s more concerning for the White House is that 67% of Independents—up from 61% in May—are “very concerned” about inflation. 

Going forward, economists are eager to see the June CPI figure, which drops on July 13. They’re hoping the rate of inflation subsides a bit.

*Methodology: The Fortune-Momentive poll was conducted among a national sample of 2,098 adults in the U.S. between June 11 and 14. This survey’s modeled error estimate is plus or minus 3 percentage points. The findings have been weighted for age, race, sex, education, and geography.

This is an excerpt from Fortune Analytics, an exclusive newsletter that Fortune Premium subscribers receive as a perk of their subscription. The newsletter shares in-depth research on the most discussed topics in the business world right now. Our findings come from special surveys we run and proprietary data we collect and analyze. Sign up to get the full briefing in your inbox.

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