Democrats Are Scared
It’s less than two months to Election Day -- whatever that means anymore. Early voting is gearing up. Reliable polls – Trafalgar Group and Rasmussen Reports – show Republicans gaining. Even the Real Clear Politics average of major polls – that includes corporate media sponsored or cited surveys – show Democrats with a trifling 1.1% edge in the generic congressional ballot. That’s bad news for Democrats.
Corporate media polls are giving Nate Cohn, the New York Times poll-parser, the willies. Cohn is well aware of polls’ flaws. He just sounded a blue alert for Democrats. Via MEDIAite, September 12:
Democratic Senate candidates are outrunning expectations in the same places where the polls overestimated Mr. Biden in 2020 and Mrs. Clinton in 2016.
That’s a polite way of saying that big media polls are skewed. Cohn cites a failure to make “significant methodological changes,” which, translated, means, in part, a lot of polls oversample Democrats. Even with slanted polls, Democrats are struggling. Republicans are positioned to rack up a whole heap of wins come November. Democrat consultants are well aware of that bleak prospect.
Of course, to win, Republican campaigns can’t be vapid. They must be tough, issues-driven enterprises. Serving up tapioca to voters is a sure way to squander opportunities. Voter discontent can’t be assumed to automatically translate to support for Republicans. GOP congressional candidates must close the deal. They’d be wise to disregard anything risk-averse Washington consultants tied to Mitch McConnell advise.
A further noteworthy complication for pollsters is the Democrats’ multiyear campaign to suppress the Republican vote. The Epoch Times quotes Trafalgar Group’s head pollster Robert Cahaly about the problem:
“This [voter intimidation in past election cycles] led to ‘hidden voters’ that ‘most’ polling under counted, therefore Trump support in key battleground states exceeded expectations. Now [the] Biden administration has essentially classified ‘MAGA Republicans’ as a threat to democracy marshaling federal law enforcement to focus on them,” the pollster wrote. “This move has created a new type of voter that will be even harder to poll or even estimate.”
Democrats are in a pickle. The cynical attacks by Biden on “MAGA” Americans, the unjustified raid by the rogue FBI on Mar-a-Lago, and the subpoenas targeting “dozens” of higher profile Trump allies are proof. The aim of this un-American, anti-rights pogrom is short and long term. Yes, it’s about ongoing attempts at voter suppression, but it’s also about rallying and mobilizing the Democrats’ dispirited voter base this autumn.
That’s what the counterfeit “Inflation Reduction Act” and the student loan forgiveness ploy are all about: Democrats trying to buy votes. This isn’t new. Democrats have been paying off voters since Andrew Jackson.
The Act is a sop to “manmade” climate-change zealots and green energy outfits. Biden and congressional Democrats are taking our tax money and hiking government debt (it’s $30 trillion and climbing) to line the pockets of environmental groups and solar panel manufacturers and middlemen, among others.
Student loan forgiveness mostly targets Democrat or Democrat leaning voters. It’s a forced wealth transfer from working- and middle-class Americans who are struggling to pay their bills. Our tax dollars are going to Democrat constituents who obtained expensive degrees and want an easy out from their obligations.
The Supreme Court ruling sending abortion back to the states is being leveraged by Democrats to create another false narrative. They’re demagoguing the issue, but to whatever extent abortion matters to Americans, today, paying rents or mortgages matter more.
Yet, abortion is red meat for the Democrat base. Fearmongering and stoking anger among Democrat constituencies are the hoped-for means of boosting turnout.
But that may prove vain.
The superior predictor for voter participation this autumn, and which party benefits, is the turnout that occurred during the now-concluded Democrat and GOP primaries.
This from Ellis Insight, an elections analysis service:
Therefore, in the 38 comparable states, Republicans saw their turnout numbers rise an unofficial 38.1% in 2022 from their 2018 base, while the Democrats dropped 20.7%. This is significant, because the actual vote numbers, as opposed to looking at polling sample data, is usually a better indicator for which party has more election enthusiasm. In lower turnout elections, this element is critical for victory.
Turnout numbers -- more so than skewed polling -- have Democrats rattled. Real voters participated in real primary elections, and Democrats suffered a dramatic drop in numbers. Democrats have a much steeper mountain to climb. But corporate media avoids this inconvenient truth. When Republicans capture the U.S. House by larger margins than expected, and when the GOP wins the Senate, the media’s credibility will take another well-deserved hit.
As Abe Lincoln might have drawled: “You can’t fool all of the voters all of the time.”
People aren’t going to vote in-step with the Democrats’ and media’s spin. They’re going to vote according to what’s impacting their daily lives. Growing economic pain, anxiety about crime creeping into suburbs, and stunned dismay at the U.S.-Mexican border’s evaporation (and the ensuing drug crisis) are big drivers for voters. Those issues cut hard and deep against Biden’s Democrats. That’s been the trend for months -- a powerfully negative one, which is difficult to reverse now.
Real Clear Politics poll averages on Biden’s handling of the three big issues mentioned puts Democrats at a dramatic disadvantage. You have to live in a parallel universe to think Biden’s numbers aren’t millstones for Democrats. Biden runs yawning deficits on his job approval: Inflation: --31.4%. Crime: --22.0%. Immigration (the border): --23.5%.
Biden’s awful numbers will produce a cascading effect; voters will hold Democrats accountable in congressional and other down-ballot contests. Biden’s governance and policies receive the unqualified backing of congressional Democrats. They own a big share of our unfolding national disaster.
Ballotpedia compiles polling on Congress’ approval and provides an average. Congress typically scores poorly with voters. As of September 15, 26% of registered voters gave Congress a thumbs up. 59%, thumbs down. That’s among registered voters, not likely voters, who, based on issues and direction of the country surveys, doubtlessly more intensely disapprove of the Democrat-run Congress.
Individual Senate races are a good gauge of where voter sentiment is heading. Key contests are tight, but there’s movement toward Republicans.
Survey research -- skewed as is -- shows Blake Masters closing the gap with Mark Kelly in Arizona (Real Clear Politics average: 3.3% advantage, Kelly). The Warnock-Walker contest in Georgia is a dead heat. Adam Laxalt has pulled ahead of Catherine Cortez Masto in Nevada (RCP average, 1.0%, Laxalt). Maggie Hassan only leads Don Bolduc in New Hampshire by 5.6%, after Bolduc emerged from a strife-filled GOP primary. Ted Budd has a slight edge -- 1.3% -- over Cheri Beasley in North Carolina. Ditto J.D. Vance over Tim Ryan in Ohio (RCP average, 2.7%, Vance). Mehmet Oz has narrowed John Fetterman’s lead in Pennsylvania (RCP average, 4.0%, Fetterman; Trafalgar Group has this race within the margin of error). Mandela Barnes is up over Ron Johnson by a tick (RCP average, 1.7%, Barnes; Marquette has Johnson up, 1.0%).
For good measure, Lisa Murkowski, who might as well be a Democrat, is tied with fellow Republican Kelly Tshibaka, though Alaska’s absurd ranked voting system may cut against Tshibaka.
All these Senate seats are in play. Republicans have compelling advantages. They have ample time to convince voters that they deserve election. But Republicans have to begin pivoting from introducing themselves to hammering issues that impact voters most. It’s about closing the deal.
J. Robert Smith can be found regularly at Gab @JRobertSmith. He also blogs at Flyover.
Image: Public Domain Pictures