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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

Is this the beginning of a Joe Biden comeback?,” Chris Cillizza asks at CNN Politics. Cillizza reports on a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll which found that “Biden’s overall job approval rating among Americans is at 47% in the survey, up 8 points from where he was in the same poll last month….That bump is reflected in individual issues too. A majority (52%) of Americans now approve of how Biden is handling the situation with Russia and Ukraine — up 18(!) points from last month. On Covid-19, 55% now approve of the way he is handling the pandemic, up 8 points from last month. And 45% approve of his handling of the economy, a 9-point increase.” Cillizza says “Some of that positive movement can be attributed to Biden’s State of the Union speech earlier this week. It was generally well-received, and anytime a president has the bully pulpit for an hour in prime time, it’s usually a good thing for him. But there are several other threads beyond a temporary State of the Union bump that suggest a Biden comeback could be in the works,” including “1) His handling of the Ukraine situation — leading an international coalition against Russia and imposing harsh economic sanctions all while refusing to commit American military forces — has won him positive reviews from Democrats and Republicans….2) The US economy is clearly moving in the right direction — and fast. An eye-popping 678,000 jobs were added in February alone. The unemployment rate is now down to 3.8%, the lowest it’s been in two years….3) Covid-19 is in retreat. Average daily case numbers are down to around 55,000 nationally, and a slew of states are getting rid of indoor mask mandates — making “normal” seem a whole lot more attainable.”

In case that poll is an outlier, Elena Schneider and Christopher Catelago report on “The Democratic Party’s emerging priority: Save the governors” at Politico: “Ahead of the midterm elections, Democrats are expanding their scope far beyond congressional contests and on to governor races in battleground states, seeing them as existential for the party’s presidential prospects, if not democratic governance itself….Party leaders, deep-pocketed donors and leading super PACS were already planning to prioritize November’s gubernatorial contests, which have long been an afterthought on national election maps. But their focus has intensified this past year after Republicans attempted to undermine and overturn the last election and Democratic-led federal voting rights legislation went up in smoke….Cooper Teboe, a donor adviser based in Silicon Valley, said he’s “seen a real shift” among major Democratic donors in their approach to state-based races. “Of the pool of major donors — of big, institutional donors behind the DNC and the DCCC — I’d say 50 to 60 percent of them are now putting that same effort into governors, and I expect that group of donors to only grow.”….Much of the focus from donors on down has centered on the governor races in key battleground states…“My entire donating life has always been centered around Congress, but I really think that if you care about democracy, you need to worry about these governors’ races,” said Steve Elmendorf, a Democratic donor and lobbyist. “This is critical for us to win in 2024.”….Overall, 36 races for governor are happening this year….the contests in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Georgia also coincide with marquee Senate and some battleground House races.”

“The ongoing war in Ukraine appears to have Americans in a bind,” Alex Samuels reports at FiveThirtyEight. “While roughly half of U.S. adults want to impose some type of punishment on or sanction against the Russian government for waging a war on Ukraine, another chunk of the country thinks it’s best for President Biden and others in power to stay out of European affairs….My colleague Geoffrey Skelley previously documented the sort of quandary many Americans are in regarding the war. And recent polling suggests that most voters are on the fence on where to go from here. That said, certain things are clearer based on recent polling: For starters, Americans are still somewhat dissatisfied with Biden’s response to the crisis….On imposing economic sanctions on Russia, a bare majority (50 percent) thought this was a good idea, while 20 percent disagreed….42 percent of citizens said they wanted the U.S. to send financial aid to Ukraine; 24 percent did not….On imposing additional sanctions against Russia, 69 percent of Americans said they were in favor, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll that was conducted in the two days prior to the invasion on Feb. 24. But despite widespread support, only about half of the public said those sanctions were worthwhile if they led to more expensive gas prices. A CNN/SSRS poll fielded just after the invasion began found a similar result: Per the survey, 71 percent of Americans agreed that the U.S. should consider gas prices when deciding its actions toward Russia, a major oil and natural gas producer.”

From “Biden’s Supreme Court Pick Faces Little Opposition From Voters” by Eli Yokley at Morning Consult:

2 comments on “Political Strategy Notes

  1. Martin Lawford on

    Yes, this is the beginning of a comeback not only for President Biden but also for the Democratic Party. The economy is booming while Covid is subsiding. Inflation will moderate because it was temporary all along. All this will put the Democrats into a strong position to do what they should have done already, pass Build Back Better even if they must do it piecemeal.


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