A new CNN national poll paints a very grim portrait of the electorate for Democrats, with any number of warning signs that suggest the 2022 midterms are shaping up to be very tough for their side.
I went through the data and pulled out five numbers that are particularly troubling for Democrats with just six days left before the election.
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1) 42%: That’s President Joe Biden’s job approval rating among likely voters in the new poll, down from 46% in a CNN poll completed in September and early October. Even more concerning for Democrats should be the fact that while just 17% of likely voters strongly approve of the job Biden is doing, a whopping 47% strongly disapprove – a major passion gap.
2) 61%: That’s the number of likely voters who say that Biden hasn’t paid enough attention to the most important problems facing the country. Just 39% say that Biden has the right priorities. Call this the “out of touch” question – and it’s never good for a politician to be on the wrong side of it. By way of context, in a poll conducted by CNN just before the 2018 midterm elections – where Democrats gained a net of 40 House seats – 40% of total respondents said Trump had the right priorities for the country.
3) 51%: That’s the number of likely voters who say the economy is the key issue in determining their vote. Abortion – at 15% – is the only other issue that ranks in double digits. That is proof positive that we are in for another “it’s the economy, stupid” election. And that bodes poorly for the party in power – especially when you consider ongoing concerns about inflation and the price of gas. Meanwhile, Republicans have been hammering away for months at what they describe as Biden’s poor handling of the economy. Among likely voters who say the economy is their top concern, 71% say they plan to support the Republican candidate in their House district.
4) 28%: That’s how many likely voters say things are going “very” or “fairly” well in the country. More than 7 in 10 (72%) say things are going “pretty” or “very” badly. This suggests that this is an electorate hungry for a course correction, which, given that Democrats control the White House, House and Senate should be very good news for Republicans.
5) 75%: Three quarters of likely voters say the economy is in the midst of a recession. Whether the economy is headed for a recession is a matter of debate, but what is not up for debate is how voters are perceiving economic conditions. (See #3).
The picture that emerges from the poll is an electorate deeply concerned about the state of the economy and not at all convinced that Biden is concentrating on it as much as he should. The poll also reveals that the anti-Biden voters are far more passionate than the pro-Biden voters, a mismatch that often predicts a turnout disparity.
The poll, in sort, reads like something close to a worst-case scenario for Democrats. And with less than a week until Election Day, it’s not at all clear what they can do to change it.