“Can Democrats Get Surge Voters To Show Up in 2022?,” Amy Walter asks at The Cook Political Report, and shares her response:
Among independent voters, Gallup polling shows Biden has lost a lot of ground. Back in April, 58 percent of independent voters approved of the job Biden was doing as president. That number has been steadily dropping ever since. Biden’s approval rating with independent voters now sits at a dismal 37 percent.
There’s also been empirical and anecdotal evidence of a decided drop in enthusiasm among younger voters and voters of color. A recent Pew Research survey found that while Biden’s overall job approval had slipped, some of the biggest drops in support came from young voters (-14) and Black voters (-18).
Terrance Woodbury, founding partner and chief executive officer of HIT Strategies, a firm focused on people of color and millennials, isn’t particularly surprised by the lack of enthusiasm among Black voters, especially younger Black voters.
Walter argues that “Black voters propelled Biden to victory in places like Georgia, Michigan and Pennsylvania, three states that will be pivotal again in 2022. So, getting these Black voters (re)engaged and (re)enthused is going to be critical for Democrats’ ability to hold the Senate.”
Walter quotes Woodbury, who says Democrats, “are actually making progress on things that matter to them, they just don’t know about it.” In other words, stop focusing on what you haven’t yet accomplished, and spend more time telling people what you’ve already done for them. He wants to see Democrats spend as much money telling these voters why their vote to put Democrats in charge mattered as they spent in 2020 bombarding them with texts telling them to vote.”
For example, Woodbury argues that Democrats should be talking up the Department of Justice’s work in banning no-knock entries and chokeholds by federal agents. Text voters directly and let them know how many free COVID vaccines and test kits have been delivered in their community and help connect them with those same resources.
Woodbury also worries that not connecting with these voters today will only give Republicans more opportunities to siphon them away in the future. The Trump campaign flooded social media with messages that played up the frustration and cynicism these voters already have about the Democratic Party. “We have to talk to them because someone already is.”
However, Walter cautions, “Even a robust messaging and marketing program of the size and scale Woodbury proposes is unlikely to move the needle in 2022. But, Woodbury’s research has uncovered a more fundamental challenge for Democrats. For the last 12 years, two people — Barack Obama and Donald Trump — have been the animating forces engaging Democratic voters; one motivated with hope, the other fear. But, they can’t rely on them for much longer. Instead, Democrats need to show their most loyal voters that they’ve delivered on the issues most important to their lives, not just the legislation that is taking up so much of the political capital and oxygen in Washington.”