Bad news just keeps coming for President Joe Biden and his Democratic allies in the Senate and the House of Representatives as they face what could be a November 2022 electoral disaster.
Democrats currently control Congress, but just barely, with a 221–213 edge in the House and a 50–50 tie in the Senate that can only be broken by Vice President Kamala Harris.
Recent history shows the party in power in the White House typically loses seats in the first mid-term congressional election. President Donald Trump’s Republicans, for example, lost 40 House seats in 2018, while President Barack Obama’s Democrats lost 63 in 2010.
The really bad news isn’t simply Biden’s plunging public approval ratings—39 percent positive in the latest YouGov/Economist poll—in the wake of the Afghanistan withdrawal debacle. It’s that his signature domestic program, the $3.5 trillion “Build Back Better” spending program, is proving to be toxic among voters in key congressional swing districts, according to a new poll.
Surveys were conducted by the Remington Research Group (RRG) during late August of 800 likely voters in seven middle-of-the-road congressional districts spanning the country. The survey was weighted to match the expected demographic profile for each district in 2022.
When likely voters were asked whether they believe Biden’s spending plan is necessary or unnecessary, the average across the seven districts was only 35 percent responding “necessary,” and 55 percent saying “unnecessary.”
When asked if Biden’s spending plan would make inflation better or worse, 47 percent said “worse,” compared to 36 percent saying “better.” And when asked for their overall assessment of the Biden spending plan, 54 percent disapproved, while 36 percent approved.
Asked if they plan to vote for a Republican or Democratic congressional candidate in their district next year, 50 percent said they will vote Republican, 44 percent said Democratic.
Numbers like those suggest voters see little difference between Biden and congressional Democrats and hold both responsible for what they see as a country heading in the wrong direction.
There’s also evidence that points to an unusual intensity of opposition among voters, according to the Cook Political Report’s Amy Walter.
“But what should be more worrisome for Biden (and Democrats overall), is that the intensity of opposition to the president is also on the rise, while strong approval has dropped,” Walter wrote.
“In fact, for the first time, recent polling shows net strong disapproval of Biden at a nearly equal level to that of Trump at this point in his tenure.
“Why does this matter? Elections, especially midterms, are driven by enthusiasm. And the party out of power is almost always much more motivated to vote than the party in power.”
Centrist Democrats are feeling the pressure, as seen in the Sept. 9 announcement by Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.) that she opposes how Democratic leaders are speeding the spending plan through the House outside of the normal legislative process.
All of this has Republican campaign strategists excited, including National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Mike Berg.
Citing Cook, Berg said in a statement on Sept. 8 that “11 of 21 Republicans who lost by less than six points in 2020 have already announced they are running again. By contrast, just two of 21 Democrats who lost to Republicans by less than six points in 2020 have announced they are running again.”
But the election isn’t being held today and a lot can change between now and November 2022, veteran Democratic strategists tell The Epoch Times.
Jim Manley, former communications director for former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), said: “President Biden and Democrats, in general, had a pretty good run for the last seven months or so, but there is no denying that we have hit a rough patch.
“The good news is that the elections are a year away. But we got to put some points on the scoreboard, which is why a failure to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the reconciliation bill is not an option, it’s a political imperative.”
If those measures become law “the economy will be just fine,” Manley said, adding that he believes the Democrats will “continue to deal with COVID and we should be in good shape” in 2022.
Similarly, Christy Setzer, president of the Washington-based New Heights Communications and a former spokesperson for Democratic presidential, senatorial, and gubernatorial campaigns, told The Epoch Times that when she spoke during a conference earlier this week, she reminded Democratic professionals, “We’re on the winning team here.”
Setzer said: “People are tired of thinking about politics after four years of Trump, and that means, even if you’re doing most things right (vaccinating 75 percent of adults, for starters), voters have either tuned out (and boy, I get it) or are just soured on all electeds.
“That said, look no further than the California recall to see that once there’s an actual choice: The Democrat comes out ahead. We’re more than a year away from the midterms, and we have a great story to tell. I’m not worried.”
Congressional correspondent Mark Tapscott may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @mtapscott and on Parler at @Mtapscott.