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Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand
New book about the 2020 election.

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Some Midterm Green Shoots for Democrats

 Our most recent book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  Among other things, it discusses state and congressional elections

Michael Scherer, Josh Dawsey, Isaac Arnsdorf and Jeff Stein at WP:
Biden’s Gallup approval rating jumped six points, from 38 percent to 44 percent before Labor Day, after Democrats passed their signature climate and health care legislation. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York in August showed “substantial” declines in Americans’ inflation expectations. Gasoline prices, in particular, are down more than $1 dollar a gallon since their June peak, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Gallup’s economic confidence index, which measures American views of both current conditions and outlook, has similarly bounced back from a June low point to reach levels from March and April after the start of the Ukraine war. Steve Moore, a former economic policy adviser to Trump, said he has communicated to GOP lawmakers that they should be prepared to expand the party’s message beyond inflation this fall.

“This is one of the things I’m telling Republicans: ‘Yes inflation is high, but it is coming down,’” Moore said. “Inflation is not going to be like it was in March and April with huge increases, and I think broadening the message is going to be necessary.”

Pennsylvania Republican Senate candidate Mehmet Oz, left, is joined by former president Donald Trump at a rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., on Sept. 3. (Mary Altaffer/AP)

That shift is already showing up in the Republican advertising mix. About 1 in every 6 ads mentioned “gas prices” in July, but only 1 percent of ads mentioned the words in early September, according to AdImpact data. In their place, “crime” has become a central message of Republicans, with the word being used in 29 percent of ads, up from about 12 percent in July.

In competitive Midwest House races such as ones in Minnesota and Michigan, there’s been a marked shift since June of 18- to 35-year-old voters becoming more engaged and viewing Biden and Democrats more favorably, driven by student debt relief and the Supreme Court’s abortion decision. Those target races are still competitive but now much harder for Republicans, according to a person familiar with Republican campaign research.

Democrats, meanwhile, have become newly confident about Biden’s efforts to frame the election as a referendum on Republican extremism — a category that they have defined to include the recent Supreme Court decision, the resistance to gun regulation following mass shootings and the efforts by Trump and his supporters to undermine the validity of the 2020 election.

After months of arguing publicly that the Supreme Court’s abortion ruling would not impact the midterms, Republicans now admit that it has helped excite Democratic voters and increase voter registration in some states. Democrats took the lead this summer in polling averages of the question of whether Americans prefer Republican or Democrat in Congress. A Pew Research Center poll found the share of voters who call abortion “very important” to their vote rose from 43 to 56 percent between March and August, with Democrats showing far more interest in the subject.