Border security is a “major concern” for voters in 85 battleground congressional districts, and they are significantly more confident that Republicans “are better able to handle the issue” than Democrats, according to a new survey.
“Voters also say Republicans in Congress are better able to deal with the issue of border security than their Democratic counterparts (49 percent GOP – 39 percent DEM),” said five pollsters surveying for the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC).
“Even more telling is the finding that voters in the battleground districts represented by Democratic Members of Congress still trust Republicans more on this issue (48 percent GOP – 39 percent DEM),” the pollsters said in a memorandum made public July 22 by the NRCC.
The latest Battleground Congressional District Survey interviewed 1,000 likely voters in 85 congressional districts around the country that are considered by the NRCC to be important indicators for the 2022 elections for the Senate and the House of Representatives.
The survey was conducted for the NRCC from July 8 to 15 by Rob Autry of Meeting Street Research, David Kanevsky of 3D Strategic Research, Patrick Lanne of Public Opinion Strategies, and B.J. Martino and Dave Sackett of The Tarrance Group.
The border security issue ranked behind only jobs and the economy as the top issues for voters, with 25 percent naming the latter first and 23 percent the former first.
“It’s the top issue among Republicans and tied for the top issue among independents,” the pollsters said.
President Joe Biden’s rating among voters on the border issue was also extremely negative, with 55 percent of those surveyed expressing disapproval and only 38 percent approval.
“Swing voters are particularly down on the President’s performance addressing border security,” the pollsters said in their memorandum.
“Both Independents and Hispanics disapprove of President Biden’s handling of the border crisis by a 23-point margin (Independents: 32 percent approve—55 percent disapprove / Hispanics: 36 percent approve—59 percent disapprove). Voters in the ticket-splitting districts similarly disapprove (37 percent approve—57 percent disapprove).”
The strong disapproval ratings for Biden and congressional Democrats on the border security issue come after the president’s first six months in office were dominated by a flood of illegal immigrants crossing the country’s southern border with Mexico.
The flood could produce a record 1.7 million illegal immigrants coming into the country in 2021 at the current rate, exceeding the previous record of 1.6 million set in 2000, according to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency.
On his first day in the Oval Office, Biden began reversing President Donald Trump’s immigration policies, including the requirement that illegals seeking to enter the United States at the southern border remain in Mexico until their applications can be processed.
The latest NRCC survey also found significant advantages for Hill Republicans on the inflation and crime issues, though not nearly as strong as on the border security issue.
“Voters trust Republicans over Democrats in Congress on dealing with rising prices and the higher cost of living by a 4-point margin (44 percent GOP—40 percent DEM), and continue to trust Republicans more on the issue of jobs and the economy (45 percent GOP—42 percent DEM),” the pollsters said in their memorandum.
“The Republican advantage on jobs and the economy grows to +12 among voters in ticket-splitting districts (52 percent GOP—40 percent DEM.
“When asked who or what is most responsible for the recent rising prices and the higher cost of living, President Biden (23 percent) and Democrats in Congress (19 percent) top the list.
“Voters are four times as likely to blame the President and Congressional Democrats (combined 42 percent) than they are Congressional Republicans (10 percent).”
On the crime issue, the pollsters found that nearly three-quarters of those surveyed thought the nation’s crime problem had become more serious, with 43 percent claiming the crime rate was higher today in their own communities.
“Here again, this is an issue where voters in these battleground districts trust Republicans over Democrats in Congress to deal with crime and public safety (45 percent GOP—42 percent DEM),” the pollsters said.
“These numbers are even more pronounced in the 16 districts that voted for different parties for President and Congress (either Biden/Republican or Trump/Democratic districts).
“Fully 79 percent of voters in these districts say the country’s crime rate has increased and 53 percent say their community’s crime rate has too. And, by a nine-point margin, these voters also believe Republicans in Congress are better able to deal with this issue than Democrats (49 percent GOP—40 percent DEM).”
In a related development, Celinda Lake, a Democratic pollster who surveyed for Biden’s 2020 campaign, told Axios last week that voters’ worries about inflation are “coming through loud and clear” in her latest polling.
Congressional correspondent Mark Tapscott may be contacted at: email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @mtapscott and on Parler at @Mtapscott.