By Dave Andrusko
One could argue this headline could have been written pretty much any time during the past six months: “Today is a disastrous day for Democrats’ 2022 chances,” by Chris Cillizza.
What is so special about April 28? Here’s the lead:
The news that the US economy unexpectedly shrank over the first quarter of the year is an absolute body blow to Democrats already reeling amid growing economic concerns ahead of the 2022 midterm election.
The country’s gross domestic product fell at an annualized rate of 1.4% between January and March – a stunning reversal from the 6.9% GDP growth that the US recorded in the final quarter of 2021. (The GDP is seen as a broad guide to the overall health of a nation’s economy.) …
The GDP news comes on the heels of newly released polling data from Gallup that suggested that economy confidence is extremely low among the American public.
If you add up all the factors of the GDP, it’s easy to see why Cillizza concludes “you get an absolutely toxic political environment facing President Joe Biden and Democrats as they prepare to defend their House and Senate majorities in November.” Biden pollster John Anzalone said recently “It’s the worst political environment that I’ve lived through in 30 years of being a political consultant.”
To which Cillizza says, “He’s right.”
Cillizza is writing about something specific—the impact of the awful GDP numbers on the Democrats’ electoral prospects. To the tale of woe, he could have so much more.
He could have added that a frightfully low 29.8% believes the country is on the right track.
Cillizza also could have cited the Republican Party’s 4 point generic ballot question. This measure how people say they would vote without giving specific names, only the party affiliation.
Also even young people are jumping ship. As we wrote this week, last spring 59% of young Americans approved of the President. That dropped 13 points to 46% in the fall of 2021.
And if that news wasn’t glum enough, Cillizza could have cited Hispanics with whom Biden’s support has plummet ed down to numbers that have been inconceivable a year ago: 26%!
Here’s Cillizza conclusion:
There are only 194 days between today and the November 2022 election. In political terms, that is a very short window to turn around peoples’ perception of the economy – particularly if inflation (and gas prices) remain anything close to their current levels.
If things stay roughly where they are today – in terms of economic measures like GDP and CPI and Americans’ perceptions of the state of the economy – Democrats will experience a cataclysm at the ballot box this fall. The question won’t be whether they hold their paper-thin majorities in the House and Senate, but rather how big the electoral hole will be that they have to try to dig out from over the coming decade.