Democrat pollster Brian Stryker, in an interview with The New York Times, says his party has a problem heading into the 2022 midterms.
Asked what he would advise a Democrat running next year, Stryker replied: "I would tell them that we have a problem. We’ve got a national branding problem that is probably deeper than a lot of people suspect. Our party thinks maybe some things we’re saying aren’t cutting through, but I think it’s much deeper than that.
"People think we’re more focused on social issues than the economy — and the economy is the No. 1 issue right now."
Stryker acknowledged, "We probably haven’t been as focused on the economy as we should be. I think some of that is voters reading us talking about things that aren’t economic issues. Part of it is just a natural reaction, too. We’re in an economy they feel is tough. It’s hard for them to think we’ve solved problems when they see so many."
According to the Times, Stryker was hired by the centrist group, Third Way, to hold focus groups to determine the reasons behind Republican Glenn Youngkin's victory over Democrat Terry McAuliffe in Virginia.
Reuters noted that Youngkin, a former private equity executive, had never held elected office. He campaigned as a political outsider and sought to attract suburban voters by campaigning on issues like how to handle the discussion of racism in classrooms and COVID-19 mask mandates in schools.
The campaign between Youngkin and McAuliffe centered on political culture wars, Reuters said.
"A big part of the problem was that people didn’t feel they knew enough about McAuliffe and what he had done," Stryker said. "Governors, in particular, during COVID were on TV all the time, talking to people about COVID. So it’s all anybody knows of what they’ve done. So you need to tell your story about what you’ve been doing, to the press and in paid communications, outside of COVID. And that applies to members of Congress, state legislators, everyone on down."
He said Democrats should trumpet their accomplishments in the 2022 campaigns.
"We should spend 2022 talking about things we’ve done to lower costs for working families and to get people back to work," Stryker said. "Some of those things may be in a piece of legislation, others are things the White House did. Some are constituent services."
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