You know the Democrats are in trouble when even the New York Times poll – which typically oversamples Democrats and liberals – shows Republicans with a four-point lead.
The third New York Times/Siena College national survey of the midterm cycle shows 49 percent of voters say they back the Republican congressional candidate in their district, compared with 45 percent backing the Democratic one.
Since the last poll, Nate Cohn of the New York Times says the warning signs for Democrats have begun to add up, including Republican polling gains in key Senate races like those in Nevada, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, and surprising Republican strength in districts in Rhode Island and Oregon where Democrats would normally be safe.
In establishment media polls, which like New York Times/Siena College poll typically oversample Democrats and liberals, Democrats have maintained a narrow lead in polls asking whether voters prefer Democrats or Republicans for Congress, however, says Cohn, there have been warning signs for the Democrats there as well. Republicans have led in several of these polls, like ABC/Washington Post, CBS/YouGov and Monmouth University. The Times/Siena survey adds a fourth such poll to the pile, observed Mr. Cohn.
The evidence for a shift toward Republicans appears to be underpinned by a change in the national political environment, says Cohn. Gas prices went up again. The stock market is down. A variety of data suggests that the electorate’s attention is shifting back to issues where Republicans are on stronger ground in public opinion, like the economy, inflation, crime and immigration.
Charles C.W. Cooke, writing for National Review, took a deeper dive into the crosstabs of the poll and came away with this not so startling conclusion: Democrats are tanking because Americans don’t like their Democratic president, and they aren’t happy with the status quo.
Cooke noted Biden’s approve–disapprove is 39–58, and 45 percent of likely voters “strongly disapprove” of the way he is “handling his job.” The right track–wrong track numbers are 24–64. And what respondents care about — despite all that talk of “Roevember” — is the bad economy. Twenty-six percent of respondents said that “the economy (including jobs, stock market)” was the most important issue. Eighteen percent said that “inflation or the cost of living” is. Just five percent said abortion is. That’s a split of 44–5, noted Mr. Cooke.
One of the most interesting items Mr. Cooke pulled from the crosstabs of the poll was this: After promising “an intense focus” on abortion, and we might add spending tens of millions of their campaign dollars on the issue, that “intense focus” has yielded a 47–47 split between women who say they’re going to vote for a Republican and women who say they’re going to vote for a Democrat.
Demonstrating how they wasted their millions on abortion, the NYT/Siena poll showed the biggest month-to-month shift in voter attitudes came from women who identified as independent voters: In September, they favored Democrats by 14 points. Now, independent women backed Republicans by 18 points — a striking swing given the polarization of the American electorate and how intensely Democrats have focused on that group and on the threat Republicans pose to abortion rights.
The key takeaway, as ever, is this, observed Mr. Cooke:
The first midterm election of a presidency has been historically challenging for the party in power, and Democrats are approaching this one saddled with a president who has a disapproval rating of 58 percent, including 63 percent of independent voters.
Cooke concluded his analysis with something with which the majority of Americans apparently agree:
Joe Biden is a bad president. He doesn’t care about inflation — the central problem facing the United States. He routinely violates his oath of office. He is a serial liar. And he’s a fraud into the bargain. Having won the 2020 election, Biden immediately abandoned everything he had run on. If the Times poll is correct, he’s going to pay a price for this in November.
If you want to take a look at the crosstabs for yourself here’s a link to an archived version of the New York Times subscriber only page that bypasses the paywall, so you don’t have to feed your enemies by subscribing.
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