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The future of the Democratic Party relies upon the swing vote


Democrats are finding themselves in an increasingly perilous position heading into the 2022 midterms. 

There has recently been a marked decline in overall support for President Biden and his administration, driven in large part by swing voters, who have grown increasingly negative on the administration for their perceived mishandling of the major issues facing the country. 

Swing Voters are a group that tends to vote for both Republicans and Democrats from cycle to cycle — and thus, are a decisive voting bloc that Democrats need to bring into the fold before 2022.

Swing voters currently prefer Republicans over Democrats in the generic 2022 congressional vote, 45 percent to 39 percent, according to the findings of a recent poll conducted by our firm, Schoen-Cooperman Research. This is indicative of the broader, strong trend toward the G.O.P. that we isolated in our recent piece.

Ultimately, our latest analysis of swing voters further highlights and underscores the challenges Democrats face going forward and also helps answer a pivotal question facing the party: How do Democrats revive their brand and refine their messaging in order to win back these crucial swing voters before the midterm elections?

Our findings provide a cursory strategic roadmap for Democrats, and indicate that swing voters are most persuaded by pro-Democratic arguments that convey an optimistic vision for the country’s future — which the national Democratic party’s message currently lacks.

Thus, an effective Democratic message in 2022 needs to demonstrate how the party is creating a better and more prosperous future for America — rather than just focusing on negativity and partisanship.

Specifically, messaging that shows how Democrats are transforming America and moving the country forward — by investing in our country’s infrastructure to modernize our roads, bridges, pipes, ports and internet connections — is highly effective, and is convincing to more than three-quarters (77 percent) of swing voters.

Further, messaging centered on how Democrats are leading the U.S. to a better future — by creating millions of good-paying jobs that give working Americans dignity, and by getting kids back to school — is also persuasive to a strong majority (63 percent) of swing voters.

To note, advocating for spending without positivity and without a vision for the country is not helpful — and is arguably detrimental. In particular, we are referring to the Democrats’ push for their massive $3.5 trillion spending plan — which is not well-understood, rudderless, and will only increase the debt, deficit, and inflation.

Indeed, the potential for an electoral backlash against Democrats could become even more significant if the party continues down their current ill-fated path of pursuing this egregious spending plan — especially without articulating any cohesive or optimistic vision to move the country forward.

And to that end, our findings demonstrate clearly that the Democrats’ current strategy isn’t working.

Indeed, swing voters disapprove of the job President Biden is doing by a margin of 3-points, and hold an unfavorable view of Democrats in Congress by a margin of 8-points.

It is also noteworthy that swing voters trust Republicans more than Democrats on key issues facing the country, especially: leading the COVID-19 recovery (20-point Republican advantage), creating good-paying jobs (19-point Republican advantage), addressing immigration (15-point Republican advantage), and lowering crime (14-point Republican advantage). 

Swing voters notably also blame Democrats for the immigration surge at the southern border by a 3-to-1 margin, and blame Democrats for rising inflation by a 2-to-1 margin. 

Accordingly, the top anti-Democratic messages tested — which make the case that Democrats are to blame for the surge of migrants at the border and for inflation — are persuasive to majorities of swing voters.

Ultimately, our data is clear: Democrats need to do away with unnecessarily big spending plans and negative messaging — and instead focus on developing an optimistic, inclusive, and pro-growth message that shows how the party is creating a stronger, safer and more prosperous future for America.

Yet, if Democrats keep on their current path, the party could be on track to suffer the most substantial midterm loss of any party in recent history.

Douglas E. Schoen and Carly Cooperman are pollsters and partners with the public opinion company Schoen Cooperman Research based in New York. They are co-authors of a forthcoming book, entitled “America: Unite or Die.”

Tags Democratic Party Joe Biden Joe Biden Political ideologies political parties Political parties in the United States Politics of the United States Republican Party Schoen Cooperman Swing vote Voting in the United States

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