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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Sargent: New Poll Clarifies Challenge for Clinton, Dems

From Greg Sargent’s Plum Line post, “Here’s Hillary Clinton’s big 2016 challenge, in one chart”:

The new poll, which was commissioned by Women’s Voices Women Vote Action Fund and conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, shows that members of the Rising American Electorate — minorities, millennials, and single women — are significantly less tuned in to next year’s election than GOP-aligned voter groups are.
The poll has some good news for Democrats. The survey, which was taken in four key battleground states — Colorado, Florida, Ohio, and Wisconsin — suggests that in those states, the demographics do favor Dems. That’s because the poll finds that RAE voter groups — who helped drive Obama’s wins — now make up a “majority or near majority of the vote” in all those states. The poll also finds Dems leading in Senate races in two of those states and tied in two others.
But members of the RAE are insufficiently engaged in next year’s election when compared to Republican-aligned voter groups:

Sargent adds, “Unmarried women, minorities, and particularly millennials are less interested in next year’s voting than seniors, conservatives, and white non-college men are. Non-college women — a group the Clinton camp is reportedly eyeing as a way to expand on the Obama coalition — are also less interested.” However, “If Clinton wins the Democratic nomination, and the prospect of electing the first female president seems increasingly within reach, you could see engagement kicking in much more substantially. (It will be interesting to see how non-college, unmarried, minority and millennial women respond.)” Further,

But Greenberg’s pollsters are sounding the alarm now, warning that Democrats need to take more steps to tailor their message towards boosting the interest level among these voters. As Stan Greenberg outlines in his new book, America Ascendant, the key to engaging these voters is two-fold. It isn’t enough to simply outline bold economic policies to deal with college affordability, child care (universal pre-K), workplace flexibility (paid family and sick leave), and so forth, though those things are crucial. What’s also required to engage these groups, Greenberg argues, is a reform agenda geared to reducing the influence of the wealthy, the lobbyists, and the special interests over our politics. Today’s new poll suggests the same.

The reason is that “many Americans don’t believe government can or will actually deliver on those policies.” However, writes Greenberg, “when voters hear the reform narrative first, they are dramatically more open to the middle-class economic narrative that calls for government activism in response to America’s problems.”
Sargent notes that Clinton’s campaign has embraced the need for reforms to reduce the political influence of the wealthy in politics. It’s important that other Democratic candidates do so as well — down ballot as well as presidential candidates.

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