Housing affordability is a key issue for six in 10 likely voters in this year’s presidential election, reveals a new poll from Make Room, the nationwide campaign giving voice to struggling renters, and Ipsos Public Affairs.
According to the survey, conducted among 811 likely voters online between July 8 and 11, 76% of Americans are more likely to support candidates who make housing affordability a focus of their campaigns and a federal priority. This includes 92% of Democrats, 55% of Republicans, and 78% of Independents.
Almost three-quarters of Americans, 72%, also agreed that housing affordability should be a core issue on the Democratic and Republican party platforms. This includes 84% of Democrats, 58% of Republicans, and 69% of Independents.
In the Democratic Party draft platform posted online July 1, the party said it will “increase the supply of affordable rental housing by expanding incentives and easing local barriers to building new affordable rental housing developments in areas of economic opportunity.” It also added that it will increase funding for the National Housing Trust Fund, reinvigorate federal housing production programs, increase funding for housing choice vouchers, and fight for funding to end homelessness.
According to The Wall Street Journal, an early draft of the Republican Party platform addresses affordability, but it also calls for the scaling back of the government’s role in the housing market and the dismantling of government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. A final draft is expected next week.
Democratic presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton has vowed to make affordable housing a priority. Her plans zero in on increasing the supply of low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs) and doubling the amount of New Markets Tax Credits. As of press time, affordable housing had not been among Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump’s positions.
Millions of Americans struggle with housing affordability, with one in four of all renters spending more than half of their pre-tax income on rent and utilities, according to Make Room. Of those surveyed, almost half of the survey respondents confirmed that an inability to make rent or mortgage payments has been a problem for themselves or someone close to them within the past year.
“The dual challenges of rising rents and stagnant wages do not discriminate: Millions of Americans, regardless of political affiliations, are struggling to afford their homes and are living in fear of an unexpected expense or reduction in hours at work leading to eviction or homelessness,” said Angela Boyd, managing director of Make Room. “Candidates for public office and current elected officials must prioritize housing affordability and be clear with voters about their plans for address this issue as a significant barrier to families’ financial security and our country’s economic prosperity.”
Although the affordability crisis has received increased attention, 58% of respondents said they believe their local officials are not doing enough to improve housing affordability and only 37% believe Congress is doing enough.