AMAC Exclusive – By Shane Harris
After narratives of a “Democratic resurgence” dominated headlines in August and September, Republicans are now heading into the final weeks of the fall campaign on strong footing to regain control of both chambers of Congress. The emergence of this “second wind” for Republicans appears to have been detected early by a poll conducted by the Trafalgar Group for AMAC last month (covered extensively by AMAC Newsline) which outlined the contours of what the prophesized Red Wave might look like.
A number of key findings from the poll – which surveyed 1,078 likely voters from September 21-26 – suggested that Democrats were in far more trouble than optimistic headlines were indicating.
For instance, the poll found that a majority of voters – 51.5 percent – said Biden cares “much less” about the middle class than prior presidents. That number includes 21.7 percent of Democrats and, crucially, 54.7 percent of Independents. Just 23.7 percent of Independents said Biden cares “much more” about the middle class than prior presidents.
As AMAC Newsline noted, those results indicate a growing “empathy gap” that completely undermines Biden’s branding of himself as “Middle Class Joe” and an “everyman” president. That’s bad news for Democrats down ballot who are associated with Biden and his policies.
Despite Democrats believing that a slight reduction in sky-high gas prices, low unemployment, and the Russia-Ukraine war would be the party’s saving grace on the economy, the AMAC/Trafalgar poll suggested that voters were still deeply angry about the country’s financial state, and overwhelmingly blamed Biden. Just 6.7 percent of respondents blamed the Russian invasion of Ukraine for inflation – a narrative the Biden administration has desperately tried to sell for months. When asked which of several factors was “most responsible” for inflation, a majority (52.1 percent) selected “Biden administration,” compared to just 15.4 percent who said “Trump administration” (another line constantly pushed by the White House).
Now, as inflation continues to sit near record highs and gas prices begin to tick back up in spite of Biden’s ploy to recklessly empty the country’s strategic oil reserves in hopes of saving Democrats’ election chances, voters are only more likely to take their frustration out on Democratic candidates.
On crime, which polls consistently show is another top issue for voters this fall, Biden and liberal policies also received poor marks. In total, 55.4 percent of respondents said rising violent crime is primarily a result of either lenient prosecutors, the Biden administration, lack of police presence, or immigration. Given the Biden administration’s failures on immigration, Democrats’ association with the “Defund the Police” movement, and the rise of far-left prosecutors in many American cities, this mix of answers does not bode well for Biden or his party.
The AMAC/Trafalgar poll also pointed to the re-emergence of education and parents’ rights as critical issues in midterm races. When asked if they “agree with the Biden Administration Education Department’s proposed policy requiring school children to attend mandatory counseling without parental consent if they refuse to use the preferred pronouns of their transgender classmates,” referring to a plan recently outlined by the Biden administration, 82 percent of respondents answered “No.” That figure includes 93.2 percent of Hispanics, 73 percent of Blacks, 68.6 percent of Democrats, and 83.3 percent of Independents. While other issues like the economy and crime have risen to the forefront this year after education featured heavily in contests last year, continuing debate over radical gender ideology and left-wing indoctrination in classrooms is clearly still a major concern for voters and a winning issue for conservatives.
On several other issues, Biden and Democrats were underwater as well. 51.4 percent said the Biden administration has “crossed an important ethical line” in pursuing political opponents – including 54.4 percent of Independents. 53.2 percent of respondents and 59.2 percent of Independents said they did not approve of Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan. 86.8 percent of Republicans, 61.4 percent of Independents, and a notable 28.1 percent of Democrats (59.9 percent overall) said they were “not comfortable” with the increase of federal involvement and intervention in their daily lives under the Biden administration. And 54.8 percent of respondents, including 20.1 percent of Democrats and 55.5 percent of Independents, said things have gotten worse for senior citizens under Biden.
On all of these issues, the AMAC/Trafalgar poll also found that Democrats have serious problems with minority voters – something mainstream outlets are only now beginning to pick up on. Notably, Democrats appear to be in freefall among Latinos, with the group expressing much more frustration than the overall sample with Biden’s policies. 61 percent of Latinos said the administration cares “much less” about the middle class than prior administrations, compared to 51.5 percent overall. On student loans, Hispanics disapproved of Biden’s debt forgiveness plan by a margin of 70.9 percent to 29.1 percent, compared to 53.2 percent and 40.3 percent overall. Latino voters also blamed Biden more than any other group for inflation and were more disapproving of Biden’s perceived breach of “ethical lines” in pursuing political opponents.
The poll also found some cracks in Democratic support among Black voters. Although Biden won nearly 90 percent of the Black vote in 2020, 20 percent of Blacks surveyed said that the President cares “much less” about the middle class than prior administrations. 25.7 percent said Biden was “most responsible” for inflation, while 29.4 percent said they were “not comfortable” with the increase in federal involvement in their lives under the Biden administration. Taken together, these findings suggest that GOP gains with minority voters will play a critical role in a potential Red Wave.
In the few weeks remaining until Election Day, it will be up to Republican candidates and campaigns to capitalize on Democrat struggles with voters outlined in this poll. How well they fare will likely go a long way toward determining who holds the majority come January.
Other coverage of AMAC/Trafalgar poll:
Shane Harris is a writer and political consultant from Southwest Ohio. You can follow him on Twitter @Shane_Harris_.
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