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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

New Surveys Show Trump, GOP Strategy Make Blue Wave More Likely

The following article by Stan Greenberg, Greenberg Research, Page Gardner, Women’s Voices Women Vote Action Fund and Nancy Zdunkewicz, Democracy Corps, is cross-posted from democracycorps.com

Pundits built a new conventional wisdom that included higher job approval ratings for President Donald Trump due to the tax cuts and strong economy that could shrink the enthusiasm ad- vantage and midterm vote for Democrats. But they are wrong about the political trends, the econ- omy, and what motivates Democrats. They miss how the GOP strategy branded Trump and the GOP as only out for themselves and the rich.

This is according to the second of three waves of WVWVAF’s battleground research program conducted by Democracy Corps. This program consists of phone polling among registered voters and an on-going web-panel of 1,813 target voters – the Rising American Electorate of minorities, millennials, and unmarried women, plus white working class women – in 12 states with competi- tive races for governor, Senate, and Congress, including 42 Cook competitive seats.1 The same web-panel respondents were interviewed in April and late June, so these reported trends we know to be true.

Here are the key findings:

  • The off-year trends that favor Democrats have solidified and grown. In fact, Trump’s base strategy is pushing up Democrats and anti-Trump voters’ intention to vote in this off-year and is widening the enthusiasm gap.
  • Over the past three months, a nationalized Democratic advantage has emerged across the Senate, congressional and governors’ battlegrounds as Democrats have made gains in the Cook battleground districts and in the governors’ races.1
  • Despite perceptions of a strong macro-economy, Donald Trump’s poor job approval rat- ings barely budged from April; nor did the intense disapproval of his presidency dimin- ish, thereby fueling and sustaining the enthusiasm gap between Democrats and Republi- cans.
  • Trump and the GOP have a strategy, but it is not working: they did not make gains on handling taxes, the economy or immigration.
  • Pundits are missing how frustrated ordinary citizens are with politicians who put govern- ment to work for their big donors and corporations, and don’t get how much ordinary people are struggling with wages that don’t keep up with higher costs, health care above all.
  • The passage of the Republicans’ tax scam for the rich has created a shared brand for Trump and the GOP as out for themselves and the rich.
  • Yes, voters know there are more jobs and they are feeling more financially secure, but that has nothing to do with their wages and the cost of living. Two-thirds of the base say the growing economy is not helping them and a big majority says wages aren’t keeping up with rising costs. Dominating their economic pain are health care costs.
  • When asked what issues are impacting their vote, Democrats and the Rising American Electorate point first to the cost of health care, followed by guns.
  • Democrats have powerful messages that drive higher turnout. Each begins with attacks on corrupt work for wealthy donors and corporations, highlights the corrupt tax deal for corporations and accuses Trump and the GOP of governing for the rich and themselves while voters struggle. The voters know which politicians are in charge and who they are working for, and they reward Democrats who embrace these messages.
  • The strongest Democratic message platform: politicians in Washington divide the country so they can cut corrupt deals for big donors, corporations, and themselves which hurt working people and the middle class. The reckless increase in the deficit means less in- vestment, less help with health care, and puts Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid at risk.
  • A millennial-directed message on this platform has real power and drives up turnout among Democratic voters.

(On behalf of Women’s Voices. Women Vote Action Fund, Democracy Corps conducted the second in a series of three phone surveys with accompanying web-surveys among an on-going panel of minorities, millennials, unmarried women and white non-college educated women (the RAE+) in 12 states with Governor races (10 Senate race states): Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Wisconsin. The phone survey of 1,000 registered voters with 66 percent cell-rate was conducted June 11-14, 2018. The voter-file matched web-panel of 1,813 “RAE+” registered voters was conducted June 13-28, 2018.)

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