Biden wins and Roe reversal nearly wipe out GOP enthusiasm edge in midterms
A recent string of high-profile victories for President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats appears to have reinvigorated enthusiasm among the party’s base ahead of the midterm elections.
Before departing Washington, D.C., for a two-week vacation from South Carolina to Delaware, Biden ushered in a veterans healthcare bill, a $50 billion semiconductor manufacturing bill, and gargantuan climate legislation billed as curbing inflation and saw national average gas prices, a favorite attack line for Republicans, decrease for more than two straight months.
BIDEN’S POLL NUMBERS STILL TIGHTLY TIED TO INFLATION DESPITE RECENT WINS
Meanwhile, a Sunday poll from NBC News showed Democrats trailing Republicans by just two points in terms of voter enthusiasm. Sixty-eight percent of Republicans and 66% of Democrats responded with either a “9” or a “10” when asked by NBC about their level of interest in the coming elections. For comparison, Republicans led Democrats by 17 points in NBC’s March poll.
Several Democratic officials told the Washington Examiner that this polling shift is “twofold” and should be attributed to Biden’s wins and the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
“We’re seeing the Republican Party that’s just voted against lowering prescription drug prices, the Republican Party that just voted against capping insulin prices and lowering energy costs and voting against veterans’ healthcare and voting against bringing supply chains home. That is what people are tuning into now with just under 90 days to go,” one senior aide said. “The flip side of it is the Dobbs decision, I think, has really, like, highlighted the focus and highlighted where the Republican Party is going.”
Two Democratic officials suggested that the party will see an even larger polling bounce as Republicans are forced to address the multiple investigations focusing on former President Donald Trump and those in his orbit, specifically an Espionage Act inquiry from the Justice Department that resulted in a surprise FBI raid of the former president’s Mar-a-Lago home in early August.
One of those officials predicted that Democrats up for election in November will be able to message around actual policies, essentially ignoring the Trump issue entirely and forcing Republican voters to choose between the “cult” of Trump and “lawmakers who actually want to lower costs for all Americans.”
Three Republican campaign strategists rejected the notion that Democrats won’t campaign on Trump, with one strategist even claiming that the “unjustified” Mar-a-Lago raid would help the GOP come November.
Multiple polls, including one published Aug. 18 by Reuters and Ipsos, show the majority of Republican voters lining up behind Trump on the topic of the raid. Other polls, including offerings from the Economist and Rasmussen, found that less than half of independent voters approved of the raid. Republican voter enthusiasm, however, did slightly decrease in the Economist’s poll compared to past samplings.
Despite his strong end to the summer, Biden’s own approval ratings remain underwater. RealClearPolitics’s polling average found Biden’s approval hovering at 41% on Monday, with 55% disapproving of his job as president.
The White House said it hopes to continue amplifying its recent success in the coming weeks after the president returns from vacation. White House officials said that, in total, Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, Cabinet secretaries, and other high-profile administration figures will make 35 trips to 23 different states before Nov. 4.
“Our goal for the next few weeks is simple: Take our message — one that we know resonates with key groups — and reach the American people where they are,” senior Biden adviser Anita Dunn and White House communications director Kate Bedingfield wrote in a recent memo to White House chief of staff Ron Klain. “Other upcoming events will illustrate how President Biden worked to get things done, including passing a historic gun safety law and making smart investments to keep our competitive edge and rebuild American manufacturing through the CHIPS and Science Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.”
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Several Democratic groups plan to supplement Biden’s own messaging push with a $10 million TV ad campaign running for the next 90 days in an effort to define Democrats’ legislative wins in voters’ minds.
“It is essential that people understand the magnitude of what just happened,” Pete Maysmith, senior vice president of campaigns at the League of Conservation Voters, said of the push. “We need to aggressively tell this story.”