Democrat Pollsters Reveal Party's Problems in Post-Virginia Memo

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

November’s elections should have served as a wake-up call for Democrats all over the nation, especially after Glenn Youngkin defeated Terry McAuliffe for the governorship in Virginia. So many elections that took place last month revealed the severe issues the Democrats will have to overcome if they want to stand any sort of chance in the 2022 midterm elections.


In a Nov. 15 memo, which was recently made public, Democrat pollsters revealed the problems the party faces going into 2022. Bryan Striker and Oren Savir interviewed Virginia voters who chose Biden in 2020 and Youngkin in 2021 to find out why they switched parties.

Stryker and Savir revealed issues that could hurt the party nationally. They say that a “weak national brand” prevented voters from naming any Biden-era Democrat accomplishment other than the infrastructure bill. They also said that voters viewed the party as “careening from crisis to crisis,” and they noted that voters aren’t happy with the direction of the country and don’t perceive the Democrats as offering any solutions.

The pollsters also pointed out that voters don’t believe the Democrats’ claims about what they’ve done to improve the economy:

Jobs numbers, wage numbers, and the number of people we’ve put back to work don’t move them. We should still talk about these (more the wage and back-to-work numbers), but we should realize that they will have limited impact when people are seeing help wanted signs all over main street, restaurant sections closed for lack of workers, rising prices, and supply disruptions.

Additionally, Virginia voters thought that much of the Democrats’ economic talk still centered on social issues rather than actually repairing the flailing economy.


Related: The Democrats Lost Tuesday Night, so Naturally They Want to Overplay Their Hand

In the Virginia gubernatorial race in particular, the Democrats appeared to miss the point on the educational debate. Parents were concerned about critical race theory, but they were more worried about parental control and school closures:

These swing voters didn’t agree with what they thought the liberal position on race in schools was. However, it wasn’t as salient as the fact that they felt Democrats closed their schools and didn’t feel bad about it. They also knew about his debate quote on parents; it clearly burned in and resonated with them.

One mother even told them that her vote “was against the party that closed the schools for so long last year.”

The swing voters said that they wouldn’t switch their presidential vote if they could go back, and they don’t blame him for every problem. But they did admit that they’ve soured on him:

…these 2020 Biden voters had little positive to say about him right now, and many described disappointment or a sense that he is not doing well. They were reluctant to say he’s not up to the job, but they don’t feel like he’s getting it done right now.

Many of the voters surveyed said that their vote for Biden was essentially a vote against Trump, but they don’t really know what Democrats stand for. They also viewed the party as ” only focused on equality and fairness and not on helping people.” They saw the Democrats as focused more on marginalized groups and less on the middle class and working people. Some of them lamented the lack of a positive message that they perceived from the Democrats.


The most telling bit of insight from the memo is that the Democrats rely too much on attempting to tie Republicans to Donald Trump:

If we are running 2022 on “Republican candidate = Trump,” we’re getting killed. Again, this very well may have been the best arrow the McAuliffe campaign had in its quiver—the anti-vaccine stuff might not have worked, he might have been just as hard to tie to January 6 as he was to Trump, and his business record may not have resonated. That was outside the scope of these focus groups. But it’s clear that simply equating Youngkin to Trump was not credible.

Really, it’s brutal.

But will the Democrats take this sage advice and regroup in order to salvage 2022? Given the hold that the far left has on the party these days, they’ll continue to overplay their left-wing hand.

Here’s what I wrote last month in the aftermath of the election:

Another thing that Democrats aren’t doing in the wake of their drubbing is reevaluating their policy. Instead, they see Tuesday night’s losses as a need to accelerate pushing their agenda forward. It’s like they’ve all gotten together to say, “They don’t want this. Hurry, we don’t have much time before they vote all of us out!”

Their younger and more vibrant members are convinced that they lost in November because they didn’t run far enough to the left.


Stryker and Savir wasted their breath in reporting these findings. The Democrats won’t learn a thing — which means that 2022 should be a GOP shellacking. Let’s hope so!


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