GOP Takes Congressional Lead in New Poll as Support for Biden, Democrats on Key Issues Craters
A new Monmouth University poll shows Republicans in the driver’s seat with just over a month to go for the midterm elections. The poll shows a dramatic shift as Democrats lost their lead in the generic control of Congress question, plunging from 50 percent support in August to 44 percent in September while Republicans took the lead with 47 percent support up from 44 percent in August.
Republicans are dominating Democrats among independent voters on key issues of inflation, crime and immigration. Joe Biden’s extreme left agenda, supported by the Democrat-controlled House and Senate, is hurting Democrats across the board. Biden doesn’t crack majority approval on any key issue, with the closest being the pandemic at 50 percent approval. The right track/wrong track opinion has inched back from extinction level 10/88 percent in June to 23/74 percent in September (most likely due to Biden emptying the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to lower gas prices and help Democrats). Biden’s approve/disapprove, however, stands at a dismal 38/54, a slight improvement without distinction from August of 38/56. Biden’s student loan forgiveness gambit has only 41 percent approval. Whatever boomlet Biden and the Democrats experienced in the summer is clearly over as the midterms approach.
Economic issues are a bigger factor in this year’s midterm elections than concerns about rights and democracy, according to the latest Monmouth (“Mon-muth”) University Poll. Democrats prioritize a fairly wide range of issues from climate change to abortion, while Republicans focus on a more limited set including inflation, crime, and immigration. Independents, though, tend to hone in on one issue above all: rising prices. Further dampening Democrats’ prospects are the poor numbers President Joe Biden gets for his performance on the issues most important to independents.
Republicans have made slight gains in the public’s preference for party control of Congress since the summer. Currently, 36% of Americans say they want the GOP in charge and another 11% have no initial preference but lean toward Republican control. Democratic control is preferred by 34% with another 10% leaning toward the Democrats. The combined 47% who choose Republican control is up from 43% in August, while the 44% support level for Democratic control is down from 50%.
A majority (54%) of Americans say it is very important to have their preferred party in control of Congress. This control importance metric is slightly higher among those who want Republicans (62%) than those who want Democrats (58%) leading Congress, which is a flip of the partisan result for this question in last month’s poll. Similarly, those who want Republican leadership (65%) are somewhat more likely than those who want Democrats in charge (58%) to say they are extremely motivated to vote this year.
“Because the congressional map favors the GOP, Democrats need to do more than ‘keep it close’ in order to hold onto their House majority. One roadblock for them is that the issue picture favors Republicans,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.
The poll asked about the importance of 12 issue areas for the federal government to address. Those rated either extremely or very important by the largest number of Americans include inflation (82%), crime (72%), elections and voting (70%), jobs and unemployment (68%), and immigration (67%). The next tier of issue concerns includes transportation and energy infrastructure (57%), abortion (56%), racial inequality (53%), gun control (51%), and climate change (49%). The least important issues for federal government action right now are the Covid pandemic (32%) and student loan debt (31%). About 8 in 10 Republicans put inflation, crime, and immigration at the top of their issue list. A similar number of Democrats prioritize climate change, racial inequality, elections and voting, gun control, and abortion, with about 3 in 4 also giving emphasis to jobs and inflation. However, the only issue which more than 3 in 4 independents place high importance on is inflation. Additionally, independents are more concerned about overall economic issues along with crime and immigration than they are by other issues.
When asked which group of issues is more important in their support for Congress this year, concerns about the economy and cost of living (54%) outpace concerns about fundamental rights and democratic processes (38%) among all Americans. Republicans prioritize the economy (71%), while Democrats prioritize rights (67%). Independents are more likely to give preference to economic issues (61%) than concerns about rights and democracy (29%).
“Democrats are all over the place when it comes to their key issues. This makes it difficult for the party to create a cohesive messaging strategy to motivate its base. Republicans, on the other hand, just have to hammer away at rising prices and ‘the wolf is at the door’ to get their voters riled up,” said Murray. He added, “A major problem for Democrats is their base messaging doesn’t hold as much appeal for independents as the GOP issue agenda does. Even though truly persuadable independents are a rather small group these days, this small difference can have a major impact given the expectation that congressional control will hinge on a handful of very close contests.”
…The poll was conducted of adults: “The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from September 21 to 25, 2022 with 806 adults in the United States. The question results in this release have a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points. The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ.”
The demographic breakdown of those polled:
69% No degree
31% 4 year degree
This Monmouth poll was taken over a week ago, however the issue set remains the same with economic turmoil, immigration and crime getting worse in the interim, with the stock market continuing its slide into bear market territory and uncertainty in the bond market. Meanwhile, Biden and Kamala Harris have each committed several major gaffes that undermine confidence in their ability to lead the country. Congress is out of session until after the election so no new legislative can be cooked up to try to save the Democrats. The issues for the election are pretty much set, now it’s up to turnout and election integrity supervision.
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