William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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TENTATIVE GOOD NEWS:  All poll results are tentative, but some are particularly delightful.  Why not have a pleasant day?  From the Washington Times:   

In the great political popularity derby, Republicans are winning by a nose at the moment — a factor not often covered by the news media.

“Americans’ views of the two major U.S. political parties remain more negative than positive, but the Republican Party’s favorability is now slightly better than the Democratic Party’s. Both parties’ images have shifted slightly since last year, with the GOP’s favorable rating edging up four percentage points to 44% and the Democratic Party’s rating slipping by the same amount, to 39%,” reports Megan Brenan, an analyst for Gallup, which has released the findings.

A certain demographic appears to be lagging in this race.

“More than eight in 10 rank-and-file Republicans (87%) and Democrats (84%) view their own parties favorably. While Republicans’ favorable rating of the GOP is essentially unchanged from last year, Democrats’ rating of their own party has fallen eight points to the lowest reading of Joe Biden’s presidency,” Ms. Brenan said.

Republicans are still viewed as the better political party to protect the nation from international terrorism and military threats — and also better able to keep the country prosperous, she also noted.

“Given that Americans have historically rated the Democratic Party more favorably than the Republican Party, this year’s opposite finding may be of particular concern to the Democrats, who are trying to hold on to their House majority in the upcoming midterm elections,” Ms. Brenan said, though she also stressed that party favorability ratings are not necessarily related to positive election outcomes for either side.

And then there's this,  from CNN:

Sometimes you see a polling result that jumps out from the page. That was the case when I saw a recently released Gallup poll on who Americans think can better handle the issue that is most important to them.

Put in a historical context, this poll potentially portends very good things for Republicans come November.

We're all used to polls that ask voters which issue is most important to them. Gallup puts the question to Americans open-ended, meaning a respondent can say anything from the mundane (e.g. inflation) to the inane (e.g. clowns).

Gallup, unlike other pollsters, has another twist on that question. They follow it up by pressing respondents to answer which party they think can better handle the issue that they just named as the most important.

Gallup's latest data shows that 48% of Americans believe the Republican Party is best equipped, while 37% believe it is the Democratic Party.

This 11-point Republican edge is one of the best they have ever had. Looking at 20 midterm elections since 1946 when this question was asked, only once has the Republican Party had a larger advantage on this question. That was in 1946 when Republicans had a 17 point lead on the Democrats.

Republicans had a net gain of 55 House seats in the 1946 election. And while the correlation is far from perfect (+0.7 on a scale of -1 to 1) between House seats won by the Republican Party and how they stood against the Democrats on the most important issue question, it is very much existent.

Take a look at all elections since 1946 in which there was a Democratic president.

Republicans ended up with 230 seats on average in the five elections when they led on the question of who Americans trusted more on the issue most important to them. This included 1946 when they won 246 seats.

In the four elections when Republicans trailed on this question, they won an average of just 189 seats. This included both 1962 and 1998, which are the two elections in the polling era with a Democratic president when Republicans had a net gain of less than five seats.

Democrats need to keep Republicans to a net gain of less than five seats to maintain control of the House after November's elections.

We see this in Google searches as well. The number of Google searches for abortion in September was basically tied with the number of searches in April, before the May leak of the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe. Searches in September were one-third of the level they were in May. They're one-fifth of the level they were in June, when Roe was overturned. They're less than half what they were in July.

This could be very bad news for Democrats. Polls show Democrats are more trusted than Republicans on abortion by double-digits. Republicans are more trusted by double-digits on the issues of inflation and the economy, which Americans were far more likely to say was important to them in the Monmouth poll.

COMMENT:  That's the good news.  But we note, not to ruin your day, but to be responsible, that we have five weeks to go before the election.  That's, oh, two lifetimes in politics.  I suspect the Dems will pull some kind of October surprise.  It may involve Trump.  Or maybe they'll try to arrest some major Republican.  They will stop at nothing to win, for they are now religious zealots, not simply practical politicians. 

October 3, 2022