The high cost of living: What the exit polls tell us

Nov. 9, 2012 at 10:21 AM ET

There are plenty of signs the economy is slowly getting back on track, but many Americans are still feeling the pain of the last five years of economic troubles.

That’s perhaps one reason why nearly four in 10 voters who took NBC News’s exit polls this week said rising prices was a key economic concern for people like them. That’s despite the fact that inflation has been relatively low in recent years.

A Life Inc. post this week on that topic got readers talking about everything from grocery budgets to pain at the pump.

Nearly all of the almost 6,000 readers who took our poll said they were worried about rising food prices. Some were bothered by the fact that their favorite items now come in smaller sizes – but cost the same - while other said they had been pushed so far that they had to rely on the food bank.

Many complained that it is hard to keep up with rising prices because their paychecks don’t seem to be going up enough to compensate.

“I don't go to the grocery store anymore. My partner does all the shopping. I don't cope well when I see how expensive it all is,” one reader lamented.

The minority of readers who said they weren’t that bothered by food prices noted that for families who are better off an increase in prices shouldn’t be enough to break the bank.

“I can understand why a few percent matters to people at the edge of poverty, but the middle class should be able to deal with it,” one wrote.

Other cost concerns also seemed to be weighing heavily on readers’ minds.

“Health care alone is squeezing most people. Our premiums just went up by nearly 50% for next year. Last year was pretty bad, too. In all, I'll be paying about $3000 more in 2013 than I was in 2011 and getting less coverage,” one reader wrote.

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