Democrats' Disconnect With Voters Is a Gaping Chasm With Only Three Weeks Left

(AP Photo/Jim Mone)

It looks like not even a break on gas prices at the pump from OPEC would have saved Democrats on November 8. According to a Harvard CAPS / Harris poll released late last week and a new New York Times / Sienna poll, not even the January 6 Committee’s promise to subpoena former President Donald Trump will save them. As the polls demonstrate, almost no one cares.


The disconnect was apparent when CAPS-Harris asked what voters care about. For registered voters, the top four issues are price increases/inflation, economy/jobs, immigration, and crime/drugs. According to this analysis, approximately 7% of registered voters were interested in the final January 6 hearing. Anti-climactic, to say the least. Even race relations, continually hammered by the administration and Democrats, earned only 6% when voters told CAPS-Harris about the country’s most critical issues.

CAPS-Harris found that inflation is the top issue for midterm voters, followed by crime and immigration. And even though abortion is fourth, it looks like a dead heat between pro-abortion and pro-life. In fact, even when the issue polled appears to lean left, more than a third of likely voters select the GOP stance on the subject. Fighting woke ideologies in school is another strong Republican stance:

Yet, CAPS-Harris Democrats focused on all the wrong things. Voters feel the Democrats are most focused on January 6, followed by women’s rights (code for abortion), climate change, and guns. Crime and drugs come in 16th place on the list of Democrat priorities (as perceived by voters), after the economy/jobs in fifth place, price increases/inflation in seventh, and immigration at number 11.

Related: RED WAVE: Whispers That Colorado Senate Seat Could Go to GOP

The New York Times told readers, “Abortion, inflation, voting rights, January 6, and immigration are among this election cycle’s defining topics.” Yet their poll’s crosstabs clearly show that the economy and inflation are the defining issues, selected as the most critical issue by 26% and 18% of respondents, respectively. Abortion scored 5%, tied with immigration. There is no line item for voting rights or January 6. Potential proxies called ‘racism/racial issues’ and ‘the state of our democracy’ scored 2% and 8%.


Additionally, voters are not happy and see the future with uncertainty. Overall, CAPS-Harris finds that 63% of registered voters say the nation is on the wrong track. The NYT/Sienna poll found that 64% feel this way. It also found that 39% of Biden voters think the country is headed in the wrong direction. CAPS-Harris noted less than 20% of Republicans and independents say the nation is on the right track, along with 55% of Democrats.

Not even a majority of Democrats agreed when CAPS-Harris asked them specifically if the economy was on the right track. Only about a third of all Americans believe the economy is strong, and 57% report their personal financial situation is getting worse. The future outlook is dim, with 84% of respondents believing the nation is in a recession or will be in the next year.

When CAPS-Harris asked voters what concerned them and who is responsible, 66% said crime is rising and 64% blamed woke politicians. Additionally, 73% believe inflation is increasing, and 55% blame the Biden administration for the trend. Likewise, more than two-thirds see gas prices rising, and three-quarters believe the Federal Reserve will cause a recession as it reigns in inflation.

Voters also reject Biden’s energy policies, and 80% say we need to lower gasoline prices and emphasize energy independence. They also see the transition to renewables as gradual, and 62% believe most of the increase in gas prices is the Biden administration’s fault.

When taken together, voter concerns and perceptions explain why Republicans are favored going into the midterms. The top three issues voters feel the party is focused on match their top concerns almost perfectly. Voters feel Republicans are most focused on immigration, with price increases/inflation and economy/jobs coming in second and third. Crime/drugs come in seventh in the voters’ assessment of the party’s priorities.


This congruence earned the GOP a five-point lead in the generic ballot on the CAP-Harris poll among likely voters. Among those indicating they will definitely vote on November 8, Republicans are six points ahead in the suburbs. The NYT/Sienna poll gives Republicans a four-point lead. Among women, it shows the race is a dead heat, with 47% indicating they will vote for each party.

These findings are a shift from the general election in 2020. The suburbs and women were both key demographics for Joe Biden in 2020. Now it seems they are swinging back to the GOP. The GOP also holds a 10-point lead with independent voters, reinforcing the trend that unaffiliated voters have responded to issues more closely aligned with Republicans than Democrats.

Related: The Most Telling Chart on Inflation You’ve Ever Seen

Republicans appear to be making headway with minority groups as well. The NYT/Sienna poll found that 34% of Hispanic and 18% of black voters indicated they would vote for the Republican candidate in their district. If this reflects an Election Day reality, it could go from a red tsunami to a red sweet meteor of death (SMOD). Democrats traditionally rely on much higher percentages among minority voters to win statewide races. This election could signal a sea change for the electorate.

As with every other recent poll, it is clear Biden is not the Democrat party leader to navigate this minefield. He is -13 on overall approval in the CAPS-Harris poll and scores a 39% approval rate in the NYT/Sienna poll. CAPS-Harris finds that 55% doubt Biden is mentally fit, and 68% believe he is showing he is too old. The only issue where Biden is above water is his reaction to COVID, which he said is over. Even The New York Times had to admit:


In a hypothetical 2024 rematch, Mr. Trump led Mr. Biden in the poll by one percentage point. Among women, Mr. Biden was ahead of Mr. Trump by only four points, compared with the margin of more than 10 points that Mr. Biden had in the 2020 election, according to studies of the national electorate for that election.

CAPS-Harris had President Trump beating Biden and  Vice President Kamala Harris in hypothetical matchups. Because, once again, it’s the economy, stupid. According to the NYT/Sienna poll, President Trump’s most fervent demographic is people traditionally placed in Generation X, at 52% support. They are watching their retirement accounts get ground into dust as the homes they invested in are poised to decline significantly in value. Even 39% of the under -30 demographic is ready to return to low gas prices and mean tweets.

CAPS-Harris found the Republican platform is 8 points more popular than the Democrats’. When asked if Republicans stated policy platform of closing the border to illegal crossings, increasing incarceration of criminals, and reducing or freezing government spending appealed to them, even 45% of Democrats said yes. At a minimum, 20% of Democrats said the Biden agenda — framed as subsidizing electric cars, subsidizing college loans, pardoning marijuana offenders, raising corporate taxes, and adding 87,000 IRS agents — did not appeal to them.

Smart Republicans will keep discussing the economy, inflation, and crime on the campaign trail. It could become near-impossible to lose if they toss in a dose of parental rights in education. And it may even be too late for the GOP to screw it up.



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