Ed has a terrific post on the Wall Street Journal poll that came out yesterday morning. Both the poll and Ed’s analysis are must reads if you want to understand the state of play in this election, and perhaps more importantly the seismic shifts in the electorate taking place before our very eyes.
It is impossible to overstate how disastrous this poll was for Democrats, and what it may portend. Nominally it is only a “snapshot” that gives us some data about what will likely happen come next Tuesday, but I see signs that Biden’s failure as president could undermine or even blow up the coalition that Democrats created since the George H.W. Bush defeat in 1992.
First the bottom line up front: the generic ballot doesn’t look too bad for Democrats. Only 46% say that they would prefer Republicans to win in a week, while 44% prefer the Democrats.
Hey, that isn’t so bad, Democrats. Buck up!
Sure, they will lose some seats, but that happens nearly every midterm, right?
Whoa there Little Nellie. That is the only good news in the poll. Everything above the bottom line looks bad. Really really bad for the Democrats.
I am not going to repeat Ed’s analysis of the poll and what is driving the numbers. Needless to say that the number one issue is inflation/the economy, and Democrats are getting shellacked. That tells you that Democrats are actually doomed this cycle, but by itself tells you little about future elections per se.
Here’s the monster swimming just below the surface though: the Democrats are losing women, despite their relentless focus on abortion. Even women who prioritize abortion as a voting issue are swinging away from Democrats. Combined with the (so far) modest drifting away of the black vote Democrats are in danger of losing the twin pillars of support that have kept them competitive and earned them all their victories in recent decades.
The GOP has seen a shift in its favor among several voter groups, including Latino voters and women, and particularly white suburban women. That group, which the pollsters said makes up 20% of the electorate, shifted 26 percentage points away from Democrats since the Journal’s August poll and now favors the GOP by 15 percentage points.
White suburban women shifted 26% away from Democrats since August? That is huge, and could devastate Democrats even if everybody else didn’t move a bit.
The new survey shows that white women living in suburban areas, who make up 20% of the electorate, now favor Republicans for Congress by 15 percentage points, moving 27 percentage points away from Democrats since the Journal’s August poll. It also suggests that the topic of abortion rights has faded in importance after Democrats saw energy on that issue this summer in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
“We’re talking about a collapse, if you will, in that group on the perceptions of the economy,” said Republican pollster Tony Fabrizio who conducted the poll with Democratic pollster John Anzalone. The poll showed that 54% of white suburban women think the U.S. is already in a recession and 74% think the economy is headed in the wrong direction.
Views of the economy among the group were substantially more negative than in the Journal’s most recent prior survey. In August, 43% thought the economy had entered a recession, and 59% said the economy was headed in the wrong direction.
Women are angry–and angry at Democrats. It’s not that the cohort as a whole thinks the Democrats are wrong on abortion. It’s that abortion is not close to the top issue for suburban women; being able to actually take care of their families is.
Having to abort your baby because you can’t feed them turns out to be an unpopular choice. Who could have guessed?
According to the survey, rising prices were the top issue motivating these voters, with 34% putting that as their number one priority, followed by 28% citing threats to democracy and 16% choosing the Supreme Court overturning Roe. White suburban women trusted Republicans over Democrats to handle the economy and inflation. They also expressed more negative views toward the state of the country and President Biden’s leadership compared with a previous survey in August.
A total of 85% of these voters said they were very motivated to vote, making them among the most-motivated groups of those surveyed.
Dana Gianassi, 68 years old, of Lincoln, Calif., said she has already voted for a straight Republican ticket. A registered independent, she leans Republican, but said she has never before voted straight GOP. “Right now I feel the Democrats are ruining our country,” she said, citing her concerns about securing the southern border and high prices.
Losing the suburban mom vote will certainly destroy Democrats in this election cycle, but losing their trust has the potential to destroy the entire Democrat coalition–the one they spent decades building.
Also, black voters are much less excited to vote for Democrats this year. More than any other group they have determined close elections. Joe Biden would not be president today if black voters didn’t show up for him in record numbers. In fact, he wouldn’t even have been the nominee without their loyalty:
Republicans say they are more motivated to vote than Democrats, the poll found. Some 68% of Black voters and 64% of Hispanic voters—groups that favor Democrats—rated themselves at the highest level of motivation to vote, far below the 83% of white voters and 79% of voters overall.
And there are signs–not in this poll, but in the culture–that younger blacks are losing their allegiance to the Democrat Party as it has become obsessed with culture war issues that matter mainly to white Millennials. Oddly most black voters, and certainly most younger black men, just don’t see themselves reflected in the purple-haired trans-woman screaming about pronouns.
Yet that is whom the President of the United States is celebrating just weeks from election day.
If the WSJ poll reflects reality at all, cracks are developing in the Democrat coalition that may become irreparable. As significant as the 2022 midterms are, the results will pale in significance to the potential crumbling of the Democrat base.
The rapid, almost violent shift of the Democrats away from the sort of transactional politics that have characterized the party for generations may lie at the root of their problems. The economic disaster ushered in by Biden has sealed the deal this election cycle, but the problem likely goes much deeper. As the Democrats lurched left they abandoned the concerns and even rejected the values of many in their base.
Mothers are likely not thrilled by what has happened in schools. Black voters are angry about crime. Everybody is angry about the economy. And nobody believes that the Democrats care about their issues, save the radical Left who are driving the party’s agenda. Voters don’t see themselves and their concerns reflected back at them from the Democrats, and it may take a decade or longer to recapture the magic.
The Democrats may have turned themselves into an analog of the Labour Party in Britain since Blair left. So far outside the mainstream that returning to power will be a very steep climb.
P.S.: take a look at these numbers from the poll. If you are a member of the MSM, read this and weep. 69% of Americans believe that the news media is a major cause for division in the United States, and 86% think it is a significant or major cause of division. Nobody likes the MSM any more. There is no more deserving group for disdain. They are seen as worse than politicians, if you can believe that.