3 polls that should scare Democrats and 3 that should give some hope
If the central argument for President Joe Biden’s election in 2020 was his skill and his decades of experience in Washington, three numbers in a new national poll from Quinnipiac University are a wake-up call for the White House and the Democrats as they seek to retain their majority in the United States. House and Senate.
Here they are: 56, 61 and 62. And how Democrats react to those numbers could make all the difference in the world come November.
Let’s take that first number first: It’s the percentage of voters on the poll who said they disapproved of Biden’s job performance. Just a third of these most connected respondents, 37%, said they agreed, while 7% said they had no opinion.
That’s effectively unchanged from January’s 35-54% result for Biden, where 11% expressed no opinion.
There’s only one reason for the wobble among this latter number, as more Americans feel the pain at the pump and the pinch at the product counter, their opinions will inevitably harden.
Now, for that second number, 61%: that’s the percentage of respondents who say they disapprove of Biden’s handling of the economy. As NPR reports, that’s a problem for Biden, but not for the reason you think.
Despite empty shelves and rising prices, the economy is running at a good pace.
In Biden’s first year in office, the economy created 6.6 million new jobs, the president noted at a news conference last week on the January jobs report.
“If you can’t remember another year when so many people went to work in this country, there’s a reason: it never happened,” Biden said, urging reporters to look at economic statistics. dating back to the Reagan administration. “History was written here,” he said, according to NPR.
Even so, as the numbers clearly show, Americans surveying empty grocery store shelves do not share this optimism. Biden tried to point out that congressional authorization of his Build Back Better plan will help rein in the costs of items like prescription drugs and child care, NPR reported.
This week, National Democrats also pivoted to a more arcane strategy, lambasting Republicans for staging a boycott of White House picks in the Federal Reserve Board.
On a call with reporters, Democratic National Committee Chairman Jaime Harrison accused Republicans on the Senate Banking Committee of “actively trying to impede our economic recovery as we emerge from this global pandemic.”
There’s a better than 50-50 chance that most Americans can name a single central banker whose policies will play a central role in controlling inflation. But Democrats are clearly hoping the message will get through.
Now, about that third number: 62%. That’s the percentage of respondents who disapprove of the administration’s response to the wave of gun violence that has gripped some of America’s largest cities.
After calls in 2020 to defund the police amid an ensuing summer of police shootings and civil rights protests, some cities are now heading in the opposite direction and increasing their funding for law enforcement. Sixteen US cities saw a spike in shootings last year, according to Stateline.org.
In New York, new Mayor Eric Adams, a Democrat, plans to target “triggers‘part of a 90-day campaign to curb shootings in the Big Apple, reports the New York Post.
In Pennsylvania, Republican gubernatorial candidate Jake Corman, the top GOP lawmaker in the state Senate, played on those public safety concerns by launching a campaign to remove Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, a progressive whose policies have upset the patterns of law and order.
Here is a bonus number: 53.
This is the percentage of respondents who say they disapprove of Biden’s handling of the pandemic. The margin is narrower there, with 43% of those polled saying they approve of Biden’s handling of the biggest public health crisis in a century.
Keep in mind that Biden has presented himself as the adult in the room in 2020, offering a steady hand to lead the nation out of the pandemic after months of chaotic leadership and mixed messaging from the previous Trump administration.
But as the pandemic enters its third year and states begin to ignore mask mandates and other restrictions, indications are that a weary American public is also ready to ditch the virus and get back to something akin to a normal life.
On Tuesday, a senior Biden administration official told congressional budget writers that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will need at least $30 billion to keep its pandemic response operational, Politico reports. , signaling that while Americans may be done with the pandemic, it’s not over with us yet.
Fortunately, all is not lost for Biden and the Democrats. Three numbers indicate the way out of the administration’s current predicament.
That’s the 55% of all respondents who say they like Biden as a person, with 34% saying they like him as a person and also like most of his policies.
Then there are the 54% of respondents who say they support Biden’s decision to deploy thousands of troops to Eastern Europe to support US NATO allies (almost as many, 57%, want the country to stay). outside Ukraine if the Russians invade).
All of these numbers, again, point the way to Biden’s original selling point: his skill and experience, both on Capitol Hill, and for eight years as vice president, where he regularly interacted. with foreign leaders.
The challenge will be convincing voters that the policies that have improved their lives are Democratic policies and worth pursuing.
Math is difficult. The electoral calculations are much more difficult. Fortunately for Biden and his Democratic allies, it’s not impossible. They will only have to show their work.
John L. Micek is the editor of the Pennsylvania Capital-Star, part of the States Newsroom network.
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