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Politics & Policy

NYT/Siena Poll Suggests Political Environment Turning Toward Republicans

President Joe Biden delivers remarks at the South Lawn at the White House in Washington, D.C., September 13, 2022. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

Is the national political environment turning toward the Republican Party once again? Today’s New York Times/Siena College poll of likely voters suggests that the answer is an emphatic “Yes.”

The poll shows that 49 percent of likely voters said they planned to vote for a Republican to represent them in Congress on Nov. 8, compared with 45 percent who planned to vote for a Democrat. The result represents an improvement for Republicans since September, when Democrats held a one-point edge among likely voters in the last Times/Siena poll.

Why? Because Americans don’t like their Democratic president, and they aren’t happy with the status quo. Biden’s approve–disapprove is 39–58, and 45 percent of likely voters “strongly disapprove” of the way he is “handling his job.” The right track–wrong track numbers are 24–64. And what respondents care about — despite all that talk of “Roevember” — is the bad economy. Twenty-six percent of respondents said that “the economy (including jobs, stock market)” was the most important issue. Eighteen percent said that “inflation or the cost of living” is. Just five percent said abortion is. That’s a split of 44–5.

A quote near the top of the Times’ write-up neatly illustrates this point:

“I’m shifting more towards Republican because I feel like they’re more geared towards business,” said Robin Ackerman, a 37-year-old Democrat and mortgage loan officer who lives in New Castle, Del., and is planning to vote Republican this fall.

Ms. Ackerman said she disagreed “1,000 percent” with the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and erase the national right to an abortion. “But that doesn’t really have a lot to do with my decision,” she said of her fall vote. “I’m more worried about other things.”

Is Ms. Ackerman typical? Of Democrats, perhaps not. Of women in general? The Times suggests she is:

The biggest shift came from women who identified as independent voters. In September, they favored Democrats by 14 points. Now, independent women backed Republicans by 18 points — a striking swing given the polarization of the American electorate and how intensely Democrats have focused on that group and on the threat Republicans pose to abortion rights.

That “intense focus” has yielded a 47–47 split between women who say they’re going to vote for a Republican and women who say they’re going to vote for a Democrat.

The key takeaway, as ever, is this:

The first midterm election of a presidency has been historically challenging for the party in power, and Democrats are approaching this one saddled with a president who has a disapproval rating of 58 percent, including 63 percent of independent voters.

Joe Biden is a bad president. He doesn’t care about inflation — the central problem facing the United States. He routinely violates his oath of office. He is a serial liar. And he’s a fraud into the bargain. Having won the 2020 election, Biden immediately abandoned everything he had run on. If the Times poll is correct, he’s going to pay a price for this in November.

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