Yesterday, Morning Consult put out nearly 100 pages of new polling data. There's plenty to dig into put I just want to look at the favorability ratings (among registered voters) for the political figures they asked about:
Joe Biden- 58% favorable, 38% unfavorable
Trump- 37% favorable, 60% unfavorable
Nancy Pelosi- 38% favorable, 50% unfavorable
Chuck Schumer- 31% favorable, 39% unfavorable
Kamala Harris- 52% favorable, 39% unfavorable
Mike Pence- 40% favorable, 49% unfavorable (including 21% of Republicans)
Ted Cruz- 25% favorable, 55% unfavorable
Kevin McCarthy- 20% favorable, 40% unfavorable
Congressional Republicans- 32% favorable, 57% unfavorable
Congressional Democrats- 49% favorable, 43% unfavorable
As you can see, of the names polled, only Biden, Kamala and congressional Democrats in general have net favorable ratings. Everyone else is in the toilet. What does this say about the 2022 midterms-- 20 months away? Not necessarily too much.
Yesterday, writing for the Cook Report, Amy Walter noted that "history tells us that Democrats will have a tough time holding onto their already narrow House majority next year. Only once in more than 80 years has the party in the White House NOT lost seats in a first-term midterm election. This is true even when a president is relatively popular. Pres. George HW Bush went into the 1990 midterms with a 58 percent approval rating. His party still lost nine seats. We are also in a redistricting year where Republicans will have the upper hand in drawing district lines in key battleground states. A midterm election is not a contest between two different visions for America; it is a referendum on the sitting president and his party. The party out of power is unified not necessarily in what they are for but what they are against, namely the other side's policies. Pre-Trump, Republicans were unified by their shared dislike of President Obama and Hillary Clinton. The 2016 election may have divided the Democratic Party, but two years of President Trump brought them back together in time for the 2018 midterms."
She remarked on the issue of the stimulus. "The White House has been eager to highlight polling that shows the $1.9T package popular with voters. A recent Gallup poll found President Biden with a solid 67 percent approval rating on his handling of Coronavirus. But, good polling today is not a guarantee of popularity in the future. Voters need to believe all the money being spent on testing and vaccine distribution and mitigation has been successful. They also want to know it is doing was intended to do... Trump has been such a constant in our lives for the last four years that's it's hard to imagine our politics without him. Moreover, we've never seen a party, its voters and its elected leaders continue to enthusiastically embrace a candidate who lost re-election. But, it's also true that it is incredibly early to declare that he will continue to cast a defining shadow over the next election. Or even the next year. Democrats are in charge now. And, that means that their success-- or failures-- will be on the ballot in 2022.
Progressive activist Jason Call will be facing a corporate Democrat, New Dem Rick Larsen, in a Washington state primary battle next year. "Democrats," he told me last night, going right to the heart of Walter's conclusion, "face a stark choice for the next two years: serve their corporate donors or serve the people of the United States. In 2010, following the Great Recession, the voters made the Democratic Party pay all across the country with federal, state, and local losses. The real analysis must be that Congress bailed out Wall Street and left the working class to blow in the wind. If we go down that path again-- as all indications from the Biden administation show that we will-- it will likely result in the loss of both houses of Congress. There's an easy solution though-- move mountains to ensure a better quality of life for all Americans. If you don't think that's possible, you shouldn't be in office."
Virginia progressive Ally Dalsimer-- also in a primary battle against a corporate New Dem-- had a similar perspective: "The fact of the matter is that Democrats have been here before," she told me. "In 2008 we had control over the house, Senate, and White House, including a near supermajority in the Senate. Instead of using that power to make good on campaign promises and give back to their voters, Democrats enacted a mostly pro-corporate agenda, and when the midterms came around, they were wiped out in the House and Senate like we hadn’t seen in decades. The way both President Biden and the 117th Congress use their power in the coming months and year will be the difference between expanding the majority in both legislative houses and losing control of them all together. If we had more bold, people-powered officials in office, this problem wouldn't even be of note, as the priority of officials like Cori Bush and Jamaal Bowman has and will always be to fight for the people. Regardless of how the body as a whole uses their power over this session, I plan to join bold leaders like Ms Bush and Mr Bowman in Congress, so that when the Democrats are in power, we can use it to help the working people in our districts and across the country."
Ditto for San Fernando Valley progressive Shervin Aazami-- also in a tough primary against a corporate Dem. "I’ve said this before," he reminded me," and I’ll say it again. Democrats have a mandate. The American people gave us the majority to lead, and lead with vigor, courage, and intentionality. This is the time to go bold on structural reforms and provide immediate and substantive relief to working families. If your lawmaker isn’t mad as hell about the state of our country right now-- about the millions of working people who are struggling to put food on the table; who are behind on their rent or mortgage payments and don’t know if they can keep a roof over their heads; who’ve lost their jobs, their wages, and their healthcare while the top 1% are wealthier than they’ve ever been-- they flat out aren’t LISTENING to the outrage of the American people. Enough is enough. Deliver RECURRING $2K checks for the duration of the pandemic. Provide retroactive unemployment benefits. Cancel ALL student loans. Enact single-payer Medicare for all. Serve the PEOPLE. Bailout the PEOPLE. This isn’t rocket science. Poverty is a policy decision our lawmakers make every day they choose small ideas and stopgap fixes over institutional reforms."