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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

Christian Paz has a post up at Vox, “Are young voters really embracing Donald Trump?,” which sheds some light on Democratic concerns about younger voters. As Paz writes, “Just about every national poll seems to show that Biden is underperforming with young people compared to his 2020 results as well as polls at the same point in the 2020 cycle. But the crosstab results of some of these surveys also suggest that Biden is not only losing ground; Trump is gaining support. That’s an especially surprising result for the famously progressive and Democratic-leaning youth vote….Instead of looking at any single poll, take their sum view, conveniently updated every month in this cross-tabulation tracker from the former Democratic pollster Adam Carlson. Regardless of whether you look at the 18–34 or 18–29 subgroups that are often used in polling young voters, it’s clear that Biden is underperforming his 2020 numbers. In March 2024 polls alone, that shift from 2020 for those adults aged 18–29 was about 13 points toward Trump, even though Biden still holds an overall advantage of 11 points in the aggregate. Among adults aged 18–34, Trump holds a slight lead of about 1.5 percentage points. And this has generally been consistent when looking at the aggregate results of January and February 2024 polls as well….Trump’s favorability rating among the youngest cohort of voters has been steadily increasing. As of the end of 2023, that improvement has brought his standing with adults aged 18–34 back from a post-January 6 low point right to the same support he had on the eve of the 2020 election, according to Gallup polling. Other polls, like the Economist/YouGov’s surveys, found that by February 2024, Trump’s favorability among those under the age of 30 had finally turned positive, improving about 30 points since February 2021….The Harvard Youth Poll in December, for example, showed Trump had an edge over Biden on a range of key issues with younger voters. On the economy, Trump had a 15-point lead; on national security, he had a 9-point lead; on the Gaza war, Trump led by 5 points; and on “strengthening the working class,” Trump had a 4-point advantage. Biden, meanwhile, had an edge on climate change, abortion, education, and “protecting democracy,” among a few other issues….Polls specifically of young voters, like the Harvard Youth Poll, continue to show a large Biden advantage with younger voters (it was 11 points in December). They show that among the youth most likely to vote, Biden has an even bigger advantage (24 points)….61 percent of young voters view Trump very negatively compared to just 44 percent who feel like that about Biden. “If young voters are defecting from Joe Biden, they’re not doing so out of any affinity for Donald Trump,” write the Split Ticket authors. So instead of a Trump youth rise, we’re seeing a collapse of youth support for Biden….Even this month, the results of two high-quality national polls, one from Quinnipiac University and another released by Fox News, showed conflicting realities. In Quinnipiac’s survey, the results for young adults aged 18–34 gave Biden a 20-point advantage over Trump. Meanwhile, Fox’s survey showed that adults aged 18–29 backed Trump with an 18-point margin. This 38-point gap seems illogical, even if there are some discrepancies with the cohorts used in the surveys.”

Is Arizona now a more bluish shade of purple, thanks to the state Supreme Court ruling upholding a 160-year old law that outlaws and criminalizes nearly all abortions? Probably is my guess. As Kristine Parks writes at foxnews.com, “The ruling comes on the heels of a Wall Street Journal poll conducted before the ruling, which found a majority of Arizonans sided with President Biden over Trump on the issue of abortion.” Parks reports that CNN commentator Margaret Hoover said in an interview that “the ban was unpopular with Republican voters in the state and would “absolutely impact the presidential election.” Parks adds that “Hoover, who is married to Democratic congressional candidate and former CNN senior political analyst John Avlon, insisted that the Arizona ruling showed how Trump’s defense of states’ rights on abortion could backfire in the election….”How’s it going? It’s not going to go so well for him in Arizona,” Hoover argued, denouncing the “draconian” law without exceptions for rape or incest.” Further, writes Parks, “Trump issued a statement on abortion rights on Monday, one day before the Arizona Supreme Court ruling….In a video posted to his social media platform, Trump argued that abortion rights should be a state issue decided by the “will of the people.”…. “The states will determine by vote, or legislation, or perhaps both, and whatever they decide must be the law of the land — in this case, the law of the state,” Trump said. “Many states will be different. Many states will have a different number of weeks… at the end of the day it is all about the will of the people.”….His statement drew the ire of some pro-life activists, who believed it was a victory for Democrats.” Joseph Choi and Nathaniel Weixel report at The Hill that “The Civil War-era law makes abortion a felony punishable by two to five years in prison for anyone who performs or helps a woman obtain one. It includes an extremely narrow exception for “when it is necessary” to save a pregnant person’s life.” Even Arizona Republicans are shook up by the ruling, as  Carter Sherman and Lauren Gamboino report at The Guardian: ““This is an earthquake that has never been seen in Arizona politics,” said Barrett Marson, a Republican consultant in Arizona, of the decision. “This will shake the ground under every Republican candidate, even those in safe legislative or congressional seats.”

“Arizona Democrats immediately promised to ditch the new law in November, and to work toward a more humane solution in the meantime. “Certainly people are outraged,” Democratic Governor Katie Hobbs told CBS.” Joan Walsh writes at The Nation. “And this will motivate them in November.” Attorney General Kris Mayes agreed. “I think this changes everything. I think it supercharges the ballot initiative and it supercharges the elections of all pro-choice candidates.” Indeed, President Biden won Arizona by just 11,000 votes in 2020 and his campaign there can use extra juice, amid reports that some Latino voters are paying more attention to Trump this year.”….Politically, if you want to know who’s hurt by the ban, look at which party is screaming the loudest. MAGA Senate candidate Kari Lake howled on Tuesday. The last time she ran, in 2022, she embraced the 1864 statute; now, she condemns it, demanding “an immediate commonsense solution that Arizonans can support.”…. Regarding a ballot initiative in Arizona, Walsh notes “Initiative organizers say they have more than enough signatures from state voters, but it has not been formally placed on the ballot yet. The Arizona Republic reports that organizers have 500,000 signatures, beyond 383,000 required for ballot access. They’re aiming to collect 800,000 signatures before a July deadline. Abortion will definitely be on the ballot in Florida, Maryland, and New York; organizers are optimistic about planned initiatives in Arizona and at least four other states….Much like the Florida initiative that would enshrine abortion rights in that state’s Constitution, Arizona’s measure protects the practice up until fetal viability, or after that if necessary to save the mother’s life. While polling in Arizona and elsewhere shows that strong majorities of voters want to preserve access to abortion, significant portions would nevertheless like to see some limits. However, since those favoring limits differ wildly over which ones they’d support, these more sweeping initiatives are gaining the upper hand. Rising numbers of voters tell pollsters they support no restrictions on abortion, and declining numbers say they want abortion to be illegal under all circumstances.”

From “Democrats lean into border security as it shapes contest for control of Congress” by Stephen Groves at abcnews.com: “With immigration shaping the elections that will decide control of Congress, Democrats are trying to outflank Republicans and convince voters they can address problems at the U.S. border with Mexico, embracing an issue that has traditionally been used against them….Democrats are no longer shrugging off such attacks: They believe they can tout their own proposals for fixing the border, especially after Trump and Republican lawmakers rejected a bipartisan proposal on border security earlier this year….“It gives some Democrats an opportunity to say, ‘Look, I’m here for solutions,'” Gallego said. “Clearly, the Republicans are here to play games. And so whether it’s Kari Lake or Donald Trump, they’re not interested in border security. They’re interested in the politics of border security. And, we’re here to actually do something about it.”….Democrats aren’t going to win on immigration this year, but they have to get closer to a draw on the issue to get to a place where people take them seriously,” said Lanae Erickson, a senior vice president at Third Way, a centrist Democrat think tank. “Be palatable enough on that issue that people are then willing to consider other priorities.”….Still, Democrats face a difficult task when it comes to the politics of border security. A new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research has found that almost half of adults blame Biden and congressional Democrats for the current situation at the U.S.-Mexico border, while 41% blame Republicans in Congress.”

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