The Democratic Party is seen by voters as both inefficient and out of touch, and as a result is at risk of major seat losses in the midterm elections, according to a new poll by Schoen-Cooperman.
Indeed, the results of our survey – which was conducted among likely voters in the 2022 midterm elections – show that the electorate is increasingly pessimistic about the direction in which President BidenJoe Biden Blinken Authorizes 0M Defense Aid for Ukraine Following Biden Request Trump Tears Biden Amid Ukraine Conflict Five Things to Know About .5T Spending Bill Congress Just Got to Know adopt MORE and Democrats run the country and feel that the party’s priorities don’t match theirs.
In order to have a fighting chance at midterm — as well as a chance to retain the presidency in 2024 — Democrats must commit to a broader course correction toward the center. The party needs to show voters that it is focused on problem solving and quality of life issues and that it rejects the progressive left’s embrace of big government spending and identity politics.
Indeed, a majority of voters (54%) – including 56% independents – explicitly say they want President Biden and the Democrats to move closer to the center and adopt more moderate policies, rather than adopting more liberal policies (18%) or to stay where they are politically (13%).
Most voters (61%) also agree that President Biden and the Democrats are “out of touch with hard-working Americans” and “have been so focused on restoring the far left of the party that they are ignoring day-to-day Americans.” the day”. concerns” such as “rising prices” and “combating violent crime”.
Equally concerning for Democrats, the 2022 electorate clearly feels that the state of the country has deteriorated since Biden became president and that he has failed to live up to expectations.
President Biden’s net approval rating is 9 points under water (54% disapprove, 45% approve), which marks a drop of 4 points since our December poll (51% disapprove, 46% approve). A plurality of voters (43%) also say Biden has done worse as president than expected, rather than better (19%).
As inflation has risen, the economy has become a particular area of vulnerability for Democrats. Indeed, voters’ growing economic pessimism is one of the driving forces behind their discontent both with the current state of the country and with Biden.
President Biden’s approval rating for handling the country’s economic recovery is 21 points underwater (59% disapprove, 38% approve). That marks a notable drop of 17 points from our December poll, when Biden’s approval rating on the takeover was negative 4 points, 50% to 46%.
In addition to having negative views on the economy in general, two-thirds of voters (68%) blame the Biden administration‘s policies for inflation, wholly or partially.
Indeed, inflation – which is at its highest level in 40 years – is the main issue (51%) for voters, followed by the economy and job creation (32%). Yet only 16% of voters think Biden is primarily focused on the economy. Thus, voters trust Republicans rather than Democrats to manage the economy (47% to 41%) and control inflation (48% to 36%).
In addition to the economy, voters see Biden and the Democrats as underperforming on other important issues and in key roles, including policing and crime.
As violent crime is rising across the country — a trend voters are almost universally concerned about (85%) — by a 2-to-1 margin, voters blame Democrats rather than Republicans for rising crime rates (52 % to 25%). Additionally, Republicans trust Democrats to reduce crime (49% to 34%).
Despite President Biden’s more subdued rhetoric on law enforcement and policing lately, most voters still agree that Biden and Democrats are soft on crime (56%), and a plurality agrees that Democrats in Congress support radical funding for the police movement (46%).
Despite Democrats’ weaknesses on the economy and on crime, our data on the COVID-19 pandemic is relatively encouraging for the party. Indeed, a majority of voters (53%) approve of President Biden’s approach to the pandemic.
To be sure, the Democrats’ midterm success depends in part on whether Americans feel COVID-19 is under control by November — and positively, nearly half of voters (46%) now say that the pandemic is either completely or mostly under control, while only 12% say it is not under control.
Voters are also significantly less concerned about the pandemic today than they were in December. Currently, voters are concerned, rather than unconcerned, about the pandemic by a 24-point margin — compared to December, when voters were concerned by a 50-point margin.
That being said, this improved momentum vis-à-vis the COVID-19 pandemic is unlikely to be enough to tip the scales in favor of the Democrats, given the enormity of the challenges President Biden faces at home. him – and of course, the crisis he is going through. facing Eastern Europe.
Collectively, our data paints a picture of a Democratic Party unable to connect with voters on basic “kitchen table” issues, namely the economy and crime.
In his State of the Union address, President Biden tried to reshape his economic agenda in light of the failed Build Back Better plan and tried to sell some of the same big spending proposals as anti-corruption measures. -inflationary and deficit reduction.
Instead of repackaging a failed progressive spending bill — one that most voters don’t prioritize or oppose — the president should pledge to reduce inflation by practicing fiscal discipline , while ruling out any new spending initiatives that lack bipartisan support.
At the same time, while it was encouraging to hear President Biden call for “defunding the police,” the rhetoric is only a first step. Absent a Democratic effort to approach criminal justice legislation in a bipartisan way, the GOP will be able to weaponize the issue against Democrats in the medium term.
Ultimately, if Democrats don’t take a strategic shift toward the political center, they risk historic defeats — worse than in 1994 or 2010 — in this year’s midterm elections.
Douglas E. Schoen and Carly Cooperman are pollsters and partners at the New York-based public opinion firm Schoen Cooperman Research. They are co-authors of the book “America: Unite or Die”.