William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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THE VOTERS:  We are three weeks from the midterms.  Polling organizations are churning out numbers, but they're also studying the electorate for trends.  And one trend that's been detected may have historic political significance.  Women appear to be drifting away from the Democratic Party.  From Fox: 

Economic concerns and "intense" disapproval of President Biden are giving Republicans an edge with independent voters in the  upcoming election, according to recent polling from The New York Times. 

A NYT/Siena College poll found independent female voters in particular swung dramatically to the right in the past month, despite Democrats' focus on abortion rights.  

"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," the paper reported.

The Times noted that was because the economy was "a far more potent political issue in 2022 than abortion," and a majority of voters trusted Republicans to handle it.

Reinforcing this point, the Times talked to Democrat women who were voting Republican this fall. Mortgage loan officer Robin Ackerman, 37, said she was switching because she felt the GOP was "more geared towards business."

Despite strongly disagreeing with the Supreme Court's Dobbs ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade, she said it wasn't going to influence her vote.

"But that doesn’t really have a lot to do with my decision… I’m more worried about other things," she told the outlet.

Another Democrat, Gerard Lamoureux, is also looking to the GOP to solve her concerns about rising prices.

"It’s all about cost," the 51-year-old Democratic retiree in Newtown, Conn., told the paper. He added, "The price of gas and groceries are through the roof. And I want to eat healthy, but it’s cheaper for me to go to McDonald’s and get a little meal than it is to cook dinner." 

COMMENT:  That's good news, if true.  The "if" is important.  The sense we're getting is that most indicators are turning in favor of Republicans.  But remember that these are overall impressions.  Voters will actually be voting in individual races, where the attractiveness of the candidate may outweigh any issue.  Midterms often produce surprises.

Fight any signs of overconfidence.  We have vaccines against that.  Fight as if we're 20 points behind.

October 16-17, 2022