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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

Some key findings of the new NBC News poll, conducted January 14-18, as reported by Mark Murray of nbcnews.com: “Overwhelming majorities of Americans believe the country is headed in the wrong direction, that their household income is falling behind the cost of living, that political polarizationwill only continue and that there’s a real threat to the nation’s democracy and majority rule….What’s more, the nation’s top politicians and political parties are more unpopular than popular, and interest in the upcoming November midterms is down — not up….“Downhill, divided, doubting democracy, falling behind, and tuning out — this is how Americans are feeling as they’re heading into 2022,” said Democratic pollster Jeff Horwitt of Hart Research Associates, who conducted this survey with Republican pollster Bill McInturff of Public Opinion Strategies….While the poll shows Democrats enjoying a narrow 1 point advantage over Republicans as the party that should control Congress, it also shows President Joe Biden’s job approval rating remaining in the low 40s, Republicans holding a double-digit edge in enthusiasm and key Democratic groups losing interest in the upcoming election….On the economy, while job creation is up and the unemployment rate is down, 61 percent of respondents in the poll say their family’s income is falling behind the cost of living. That’s compared with 30 percent who say they’re staying about even and 7 percent who say their income is going up faster than the cost of living….And on the state of democracy, a whopping 76 percent of Americans — including 7 in 10 Democrats, Republicans and independents — believe there is a threat to democracy and majority rule in this country….”

Murray notes, further, “With fewer than 300 days until the November midterm elections, the NBC News poll finds 47 percent of registered voters saying they prefer a Democratic-controlled Congress, while 46 percent want Republicans in charge. But Republicans enjoy a double-digit advance on enthusiasm ahead of November’s elections, with 61 percent of Republicans saying they are very interested in the upcoming midterms — registering their interest either as a 9 or 10 on a 10-point scale — compared with 47 percent of Democrats who say the same….In previous midterm cycles — whether 2006, 2010, 2014 or 2018 — the party that held a double-digit advantage in enthusiasm ended up making substantial gains….And some of the biggest drops have come from key segments of the Democratic base, including Black voters, young voters and urban voters….Asked their two most important issues facing the country, the top responses from Americans were jobs and the economy (a combined 42 percent), the coronavirus (29 percent), voting rights and election integrity (25 percent), the cost of living (23 percent) and border security and immigration (22 percent)….Among Democrats, the top issues were the coronavirus, voting rights and election integrity, social and racial justice, jobs/economy and climate change….Among Republicans, the top issues were jobs/economy, border security/immigration, taxes and spending and the cost of living….Finally, the NBC News poll finds every politician and political party it tested to be more unpopular than popular with the American public…”

Nathaniel Rakich has an update on congressional redistricting at FiveThirtyEight: “Since we last took stock of redistricting in early December, eight more states — including some of the biggest and swingiest states in the country — have finalized their congressional maps for the next 10 years. In all, 26 states have now completed the congressional redistricting process (not including the six states with only one congressional district). Of the 268 congressional districts drawn so far, 128 have a FiveThirtyEight partisan lean1 of D+5 or bluer, while 119 have a FiveThirtyEight partisan lean of R+5 or redder. Only 21 are in the “highly competitive” category between D+5 and R+5….That’s a net gain of seven Democratic-leaning seats over the old maps in those 26 states, while the number of Republican-leaning seats has increased by only one. Since the old House map had 208 Republican-leaning seats and 181 Democratic-leaning seats overall, that means redistricting has chipped away at — though certainly not erased — Republicans’ structural advantage in House elections….the number of light-blue seats has actually increased by eight as the number of dark-blue seats has decreased by one. But that’s not because Democrats have been redistricting saints. While Republicans, who went into redistricting with a better starting position, have adopted a defensive redistricting strategy (i.e., shoring up already-red seats), Democrats have adopted an offensive strategy of maximizing the number of seats that are any shade of blue….These are the takeaways of redistricting so far — but we must emphasize the “so far.” Eighteen states have yet to finalize their new maps, and some could genuinely scramble the math above. For instance, how aggressive will Democratic cartographers be in New York? Republicans in Florida?…And then there’s the fact that even those 26 states may not be done with redistricting. Lawsuits over the new maps loom in at least eight of those states, and one other state’s map (Ohio’s) has already been overturned. Just under two-thirds of the districts whose lines are being challenged (73 out of 110) were drawn by Republicans, too, so there could be substantial upside for Democrats here — enough that some analysts believe the House’s Republican bias will disappear completely.”

Despite the downer polls, Tom Hanks rolls out a more optimistic and share-worthy view of the Biden Administration’s accomplishments:

One comment on “Political Strategy Notes

  1. Martin Lawford on

    I watched the video ad from the Inaugural Committee, the one narrated by Tom Hanks. The conclusion I drew from it is, “Boy, are we in trouble.”

    According to Mr. Hanks, what I need is more courage. Somebody ought to tell Hanks that the gas station and the grocery store do not want courage from me, they want more money.


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