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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Sargent: Tough 2014 Map Clarifies Dem Strategy

Greg Sargent’s Plum Line post “Why 2014 looks so bad for Dems, and what they can do about it” makes it clear that Democrats have an uphill battle ahead, but at least their best strategy is increasingly clear. Commenting on a new DCorps/Womens Voices, Women Vote Action Fund poll, Sargent writes:

…RAE voters [Rising American Electorate – unmarried women, young voters, minorities]are increasingly key to the victorious Dem coalition in national elections, thanks to the diversifying electorate. But they are among the least likely to turn out in midterms, unlike more GOP-aligned non-RAE voters, such as middle-aged and older white males and married women.
…64 percent of RAE voters who voted in 2012 say they are “almost certain” to vote in 2014. Meanwhile, 79 percent of non-RAE voters from 2012 say they are almost certain to vote this year, a 15 point edge.
…Among RAE voters who say they are “likely” to vote in 2014, Dems hold a 25 point edge in the generic ballot matchup, 57-32. But that is down 10 points from the edge Dems held among these voters in 2012, when it was 35 points, 67-32.
…Among those voters who will drop off from 2012 and not vote in 2014, Dems hold a big edge of 16 points, 49-33. In other words, the voters who are more likely to stay home are overwhelmingly Democratic voters.

On those terms alone, it’s a grim scenario for Dems. But there is one significant ray of hope — that Democrats are out front on issues of intense concern to RAE voters, particularly unmarried women, and therefore the possibility of energizing them to vote for Democrats by November is a realistic goal.
Sargent adds that the poll shows that “94 percent of unmarried women favor a combination of pay equity and protections ensuring insurance companies no longer charge women more than men, as Obamacare does, with 82 percent favoring it strongly.” Further, “75 percent of unmarried women favor a combination of pay equity and increasing the minimum wage, with 55 percent favoring it strongly” — reforms generally opposed by Republican candidates.
Sargent concludes with a quote by Page Gardner, president of Women’s Voices Women Vote: “This survey is a roadmap showing candidates how to succeed, by speaking about equal pay and an economic agenda that benefits women and their families. Our poll make clear that raising the minimum wage, ensuring equal pay for women and guaranteeing paid sick leave for working women are popular policies that will win elections.”
In addition to unmarried women, these policies are popular with African American voters, as well as young people. Democrats have a clear edge on the issues with RAE voters. If their GOTV game is optimized before October registration deadlines, the ‘Dems in disarray’ echo chamber may be eating crow, instead of crowing, in November.

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