More on what seems like the Democratic political ship turning for the November midterm vote….
The question ALWAYS IS….
Will they come out and actually VOTE?
“In May, the Navigator Research survey found that just 43% of voters thought that Democrats were ‘mostly’ or ‘somewhat’ focused on the ‘right things,’ while 49% said Democrats were mostly or somewhat focused on the ‘wrong things.’ Republicans, however, were seen as somewhat more in touch: 47 percent said that Republicans were focused on the right things, while 44% thought they were concentrating on the wrong things.”
“By August, however, that GOP advantage had evaporated. Just 42 percent of voters thought the GOP was focused on the right things compared to 51% who said they were focused on the wrong things; a 12-point shift in the wrong direction. Even so, Democrats haven’t made up any ground. A majority (52%), think that Democrats haven’t been focused on the right things, while just 43% think that they have; a three-point shift in the wrong direction since May.”
But is all of this just a vibe shift? Or has there been real movement toward Democrats?
The first place to look for meaningful movement in the fundamentals is in opinions of President Biden. According to the FiveThirtyEight tracker, President Biden’s job approval rating is up almost 3 points from late July (which was also his all-time low). Even so, that only brings his job approval rating to 40.4 percent. That’s still a really, really weak number.
The next thing we would expect to see if we were talking about something more substantive than a ‘vibe shift’ is increased optimism about the state of the economy. The most recent Michigan Consumer Index found a slight improvement in economic optimism in August. “Consumer sentiment moved up very slightly this month to about five index points above the all-time low reached in June,” wrote Surveys of Consumers Director Joanne Hsu. “All components of the expectations index improved this month, particularly among low and middle income consumers for whom inflation is particularly salient.” Even so, consumer sentiment is still 15 points lower than it was at this point a year ago.
Moreover, voters aren’t giving Biden — or his party — strong marks on their handling of the economy. The most recent Navigator Research survey found Biden’s job approval ratings on the economy deeply underwater at 38 percent approve to 60 percent disapprove (-22). And, when asked who they trusted more to handle top issues like inflation and rebuilding the economy, Republicans had an eight and six-point advantage, respectively over Biden and Democrats.
To succeed in the midterms, Democrats don’t necessarily need voters to think that the economy is awesome, but they do need voters to believe that it is getting better….
So, if Biden isn’t getting all that more popular, and opinions about the economy aren’t that much more positive, why are down-ballot Democrats running so far ahead of Biden in recent polling?
One big reason is that for the last six weeks or so, the media spotlight has been off of Biden and focused instead on issues that put Republicans on the defensive, like abortion, January 6th and Donald Trump. That has helped to erode Republicans’ previous advantage as the party that is more in tune with voters’ day-to-day concerns….
Will the drop in gas prices, favorable media coverage of the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act, and a laser-like focus on selling the most popular elements of that new law, convince enough voters that Democrats are indeed “on their side”? Or, will Republican ads that link persistently high prices at the grocery store and gas pump to Democratic policy decisions, be more effective?….