Morning Rant: The Wrong Track
Dave in Fla [Guest Monkey]
Former GOP House Speaker John Boehner strongly criticized the so-called 'America First Caucus,' saying it "has no place in the Republican Party." - Newsweek, April 2021
We often have a good bit of discussion regarding the uselessness of the Republican Party. It is fair to say that we now know that the traditional GOP that we spent decades supporting has at best paid lip service to our political desires. They talk a good game when they want our votes, then when we want legislation enacted or opposed, it "isn't the hill to die on". Or they actively take the other side.
But there is pushback. The disaffection with "business as usual" that the GOP coopted (and quashed) in the Tea Party movement has morphed from fiscal conservatism to a populism. And this new movement, embodied in Make America Great Again
is proving to be harder for the traditional GOP to stamp out.
The quote above was during a little noticed dirty trick that played out last year. There has been talk of establishing an "America First" caucus in Congress, much like the Tea Party caucus a decade ago. People like Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert are obvious members to join. Last year a document was "circulating" that called for promoting a "common respect for uniquely Anglo-Saxon political traditions". The language used was carefully selected to sound like prioritizing American interests, while just barely crossing the line into racism. The problem is that no one in Congress actually created the document. Greene was accused of sponsoring the policy positions, but she had never seen the document. It was a dirty trick to try to discredit the nascent America First movement before it could gain political momentum.
Today there are two operating philosophies in the Republican Party, largely defined by the establishment GOP and the MAGA GOP. I would characterize the two factions as follows:
- Corporatists who support any cause that benefits large businesses
- Pro military as a means of imposing American policy worldwide
- Liberal or agnostic on social issues, paying lip service as needed to get votes
- Pro-immigration in order to ensure cheap labor is available
- Free trade as a means of increasing corporate profits
- Currently controls the levers of power and money within the party
- Populists who support causes that benefit the business environment and American workers
- Pro military as a means of defending American interests and as a source of pride in traditional American values
- Conservative on social issues and wanting real change to revitalize the American moral fiber
- Opposes illegal immigration understanding that it drives down wages for working class Americans
- Fair trade as a means of boosting American interests and American workers
- Represents the vast majority of Republican and Republican leaning voters
The MAGA philosophy also encompasses a large number of Independents and Democrats who are turned off by the philosophy of the radical Left. These are the middle-class union workers and second-generation Hispanic immigrants who are willing to support a Republican candidate, but who are vehemently opposed to Corporatism.
In the 2022 midterms, these two camps are fighting for dominance. In the aftermath of the upcoming election, the Establishment GOP will continue to retain control of the party, however they will lose some of their influence. Trump and others are working during the primaries to endorse candidates that they believe will support the MAGA GOP priorities, and Trump in particular has been very successful. As of today, Trump endorsed candidates are 123-10 in their elections. The Trump endorsement is highly coveted, as just seen in Alabama. Katie Britt practically begged Trump for the endorsement in her primary, and it paid off in her runoff victory against Mo Brooks.
Trump has backed many incumbents, which is certainly helping his winning percentage. For example, he has endorsed Kevin McCarthy in his election and for Speaker of the House. The strategy is two-fold. He would like to get people in office who agree with his populist philosophy, but he also wants people in office that are indebted to him.
Regardless of which philosophy dominates the Republican party moving forward, Republicans have a decisive advantage going into the midterms. While they disagree on important policy points, both sides are united in their desire for Democrats to lose. And the Democrat political position is dire.
Before I get started, I want to make one thing very clear. I am providing projections on how people will vote
. I am not providing projections on what the results of any particular election will be
. Polls can measure voter intent; they can't predict what level of corruption will be used in any particular election. You are free to draw any conclusion you like regarding how legitimate the November election will be, if they are even held.
My favorite pollster, Rich Baris, released national polling internals to his Locals community (so not providing a link). As I mentioned on Tuesday, this is a large national likely voter sample from May that uses over-sampling to ensure that all demographics have appropriate representation in the results. Since this is a likely voter poll, the respondents to this poll will vote
. There will be no one from this poll that stays home. Therefore, there is high confidence that this poll strongly models the votes that will be cast in November, if the election were held today.
Below I am showing the results for 5 questions and the results categorized using 3 different demographic sorts. The questions I am looking at are:
- Right track/Wrong track
- Most important issue
- Biden approval on economy and jobs
- Voter intent for 2022 Congressional election
- 2024 matchup between Biden and Trump
The demographic sorts that I am highlighting are race, party affiliation, and income. One caveat is that the Biden vs Trump result is from a different poll done during the same period. An identical methodology was used with a very similar sample size, but it is a different poll.
There are several interesting things to note from this poll. First, the likely voter model (and voters in general) is still dominated by non-Hispanic whites. 73.7% of likely voters fall into this category, which would surprise much of the media consuming public. I suspect that they assume as high as 25% of the electorate is black, as opposed to the 11% that are represented. The Hispanic voting population is even lower at about 10%, even though in states like Texas and California, the Hispanic voters are close to parity with whites.
The Right/Wrong track question shows terrible results for the administration, with over 70% saying we are on the wrong track. This is the worst result on this question that Baris has ever received. Keep in mind that this poll was conducted in May before the latest inflation and stock market shocks hit.
The current sentiment is guaranteed to be worse than shown here. While the high Wrong track response is driven by the sentiment of white voters, no race views the country as being on the Right track.
Across all races, the top concern is the economy. Combining the numbers for Inflation and Economy, over 40% (minimum) of each race views the economy as being the top issue driving their vote in November. Except for the black community, all races blame Biden for the bad economy. This includes a staggering 55.3% of whites who strongly
Finally, when looking at voting intent, the Republican candidates are drawing about the same 9 point lead that Trump gets in a hypothetical rematch with Biden. Remember, this is a demographically weighted likely voter poll, so typical "rule of thumb" assumptions about Democrat over sampling should not be applied. This 9 point lead has all of the typical error sources accounted for. Interestingly, Trump does better with black and Hispanic voters than Republicans do in general, while doing worse with Asians. This shows that Trump's populist message resonates with the black and Hispanic communities stronger than the mainstream Republican message. This lead is a significant shift for Trump who was polling at -1 or -2 nationally during 2020.
When looking at the same questions and sorting responses by party you can see where the risks for Democrats lie. The Democrats make up roughly 1/3rd of the electorate but are the only ones supporting Biden and Democrats. Barely 50% of Democrats think we are on the Right track vs 92% of Republicans and 78% of Independent who think we are on the Wrong track.
The economy remains the most important issue for all voters regardless of party, but only Democrats absolve Biden of the blame for it. 70.4% of Independents disapprove of Biden's handling of the economy.
This leads to the final question of who each party will vote for. Unsurprisingly, Democrats will vote for Democrats and Biden, Republicans for Republicans and Trump. It is the Independents who plan to vote Republican that make the difference. Note that just like with black and Hispanics, Trump is more popular with Independents than Republicans are.
Finally, we look at the same questions with the responses sorted by income level. Here you can see that voter sentiment across all income levels is consistent. All levels consider the country to be on the Wrong track, with the percentages increasing as income goes up. 65.2% of people with income under $30K think we are on the Wrong track, increasing up to 87.1% of people with incomes over $200K that agree.
Around 45% - 50% of all income ranges consider Inflation and the Economy to be the top issue that will motivate their vote in November, although Immigration has a significantly higher importance to earners over $200K than all the rest. Also note how unimportant Abortion is, especially for the affluent. A total of four people with income over $200K listed Abortion as their most important issue. This does not support the stereotype of the rich limousine liberal feminist only voting for abortion, because they make enough money to not care. It turns out that people making the most money care the most
about making money.
Finally, looking at voter intent, we see that only the two lowest economic quintiles will vote for Biden and the Democrats, and these levels of support are historically low. Democrats should be 10-20 points ahead with these groups, instead of 3-4 points. The groups making $50K or more are planning to vote Republican and would vote for Trump. Again, this support goes higher as the income goes higher, with over $200K having the strongest support for the Republicans. An interesting point here is that the $100K - $200K range is the only group who supports Republicans at a higher ratio than Trump and might be the nexus of social media inspired dislike for Trump.
I updated this rant last night to provide some more context to yesterday's emotional response to the GOP advancing debate on red flag laws. As I try to do, I am providing data. It's not my fault that it isn't what you want to hear. So don't get mad at me.
The gun debate may be of critical importance to your vote in November, but it is not very important to the larger population. To be fair, this poll was taken before the red flag law sellout by the RINOs was announced, but back in May the 2nd amendment was barely registering as an important issue, below abortion. It's more important as an issue to Democrats than to Republicans. We will see if that changes as gun owners realize what the RINOs are doing. I suspect it will, but the question is by how much. I will be very interested to see how this factor changes the next time Baris conducts this poll.
The bottom line is that voters are planning to vote Republican this year on economic issues. If Trump is the nominee in 2024, he will receive the same level of support that will drive the Republican vote in 2022, if conditions don't change markedly. Their votes are motivated primarily by the economy and deep disapproval of Biden and Democrat handling of that economy. Issues that are historically strong for Democrats are meaningless to the voters right now. Trump's endorsement strategy is designed to give him a working caucus of Republican's when he starts his second term, and it will result in an increase in the number of MAGA supporters in Congress, but not enough to yet take control of the party apparatus. The Congressional elections in 2024 will be another opportunity for Trump to get supporters loyal to him into office.