A new tracking poll reveals that independent voters are substantially more concerned about the U.S. economy and gas prices in October than they were in September — a month-to-month increase of 20%.
According to the Navigator public tracking poll, traditionally a left-leaning survey group, there are other signals of a possible "red wave" in the upcoming midterm elections (Nov. 8): Internal Democratic polls from deep-blue states such as New York, Rhode Island, Oregon, and Washington show that Republicans could fare well in House, Senate, and gubernatorial elections next month.
The likely reason for the sudden shift to conservative candidates: In addition to the economy and inflation, Navigator notes that voters are greatly concerned about rising crime in all four states.
"The economic concern is definitely worse, and I think that is probably part of what has corroded concern about abortion rights," Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, 34, a Democratic candidate for Congress in southern Washington State, told The Washington Post.
Perez, whose own auto-repair shop in northeast Portland has been broken into four times in the last year, according to the Post, continued: "Anybody in the real world is very concerned about crime, very concerned about the price of groceries."
The highlights of the Navigator survey — which chronicled 1,000 nationwide responses from registered voters over a five-day period (Oct. 6-10) — include:
- 19% of respondents had a positive outlook on the U.S. economy, compared to 79% positing an unfavorable view.
- From the above figure, only 6% of those who identify as Republicans and 12% of independents favored today's economy.
- Regarding the state of the economy, 64% assert it's "getting worse," 19% believe it's about the same, and only 13% say it's "getting better."
- Regarding groceries, a whopping 78% say store prices have gone up "significantly."
- The price of groceries (91%) and gas (82%) received more than 80% mention from voters, when asked to list their greatest concerns with high inflation.
Simon Rosenberg, a Democratic strategist who has worked with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), says the upcoming election "is so close that we are just past the point of national polling having the ability to tell us where we are. It is going to go race by race at this point.
"The big remaining question is whether the Democratic overperformance of public polls in recent elections carries on to current voting," added Rosenberg.
The Post reports that other Democratic strategists — perhaps privately sensing the Republicans' momentum swing heading into the midterms — are now trying to keep Democrat voters, donors, and volunteers "from losing their nerve."
"It is way better than it was. It is no harder than we thought it would be," Tim Persico, the executive director of the DCCC, told the Post. "We are in a midterm in a tough economic climate against an extremely well-resourced opponent. It is supposed to be hard. It is not supposed to be a straight line."
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