By Dave Andrusko
There were two stories this weekend that addressed the most up to date polls on abortion: The New York Times and CBS News. The news from both was extremely encouraging. We will write separate posts.
The subhead to Shane Goldmacher’s New York Times story read “With elections next month, independents, especially women, are swinging to the G.O.P. despite Democrats’ focus on abortion rights. Disapproval of President Biden seems to be hurting his party.”
In the body of the story is this important nugget: “The survey showed that the economy remained a far more potent political issue in 2022 than abortion.”
Goldmacher tells us “Republicans enter the final weeks of the contest for control of Congress with a narrow but distinctive advantage as the economy and inflation have surged as the dominant concerns, giving the party momentum to take back power from Democrats in next month’s midterm elections, a New York Times/Siena College poll has found.”
Let’s get specific.
The poll is of “likely voters,” a much more precise body of voters than the usual “registered voters.” They were asked the generic who would you vote for question—a Republican or a Democrat? In September, Democrats held a one point lead. Republicans are now ahead—49% to 45%.
The real turnaround since September, Goldmacher writes, came with those who identified as Independent voters.
Both Democrats and Republicans have largely coalesced behind their own party’s congressional candidates. But the poll showed that Republicans opened up a 10-percentage point lead among crucial independent voters, compared with a three-point edge for Democrats in September, as undecided voters moved toward Republicans.
And then this shocker:
The biggest shift 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. [Underlining added.]
As Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey observes:
The demos are particularly noteworthy. First off, the gender gap has disappeared, at least for Republicans. Women split evenly (47/47) between the two parties in the generic ballot, which indicates a total flop of Democrats’ midterm strategy of focusing almost exclusively on abortion. …
Almost half of the electorate prioritize economic issues (44%), and third place is the January 6 stuff at a distant 8%. Abortion comes in fourth, and even that ends up tied with immigration. Abortion only scores 9% among women, only 10% among 18-29YOs, and only 4% among 30-44YOs. Economic issues score 38%, 46%, and 46% in the same demos, respectively.
Goldmacher adds some historic perspective:
In taking over the House in 2018 and winning the Senate and White House in 2020, the winning Democratic coalition during the Trump presidency relied on a significant gender gap and on winning women by a wide margin.
But the poll showed that Republicans had entirely erased what had been an 11-point edge for Democrats among women last month in 2022 congressional races to a statistical tie in October.
Last point from The New York Times story:
The added challenge for Democrats is the intensity of the electorate’s displeasure with the president: The poll showed that 45 percent of likely voters strongly disapproved of the job that Mr. Biden was doing, and 90 percent of those voters planned to back a Republican for Congress this fall.
That’s of those who strongly disapprove. Another 13% somewhat disapprove of Biden, a total of 58%. A total of only 39% strongly approve [18%] or somewhat approve [21%] of the way President Biden is handling his job.
A parting comment from Morrissey says it all:
It’s almost incomprehensible how badly Democrats miscalculated their messaging in this cycle. These numbers, by the way, look like Democrats will fall farther than five points back in the congressional vote this year, which itself would be bad enough.
In other words, it could get worse for Democrats in the final 22 days.