Voters still don’t like the GOP’s answer to the coronavirus
A look at the polling in California and nationally reveals that Republicans would be wise to come up with a better message on the coronavirus, or else they could be throwing away a clear pathway to a strong 2022 midterm election.
When we look at the generic congressional ballot, Democrats lead among voters who said the coronavirus was the top issue by a 63% to 27% margin. Among all other voters, they trail by a 52% to 36% margin.
Restrictions are more popular than unpopular
Today the issue of the coronavirus remains a strength for Democrats for a simple reason: voters like the way Democrats are handling the pandemic for the most part. In California, voters by an over 2 to 1 margin said that Newsom’s measures against the virus were either about right or not strict enough compared to too strict. The “no” side won these voters by about a 70 point margin. The “yes” side — in favor of removing Newsom — did win those who said the governor’s measures were too strict, but they were a mere 30% of the electorate.
Republicans have tried to argue that his measures, like Newsom’s, are too strict.
California voters, too, didn’t think crime was a top problem. Only 8% of voters did in the recall. These 8% overwhelmingly said “yes” to the recall, but it simply wasn’t an issue that motivated a lot of voters.
Looking ahead to 2022, it’s possible the virus will not be anywhere near the most important problems Americans face. And maybe even if it is, voters will turn against the Democrats.
That, though, seems like a risky bet given that the coronavirus has been a top issue for over a year now and the Republican response has yet to win plaudits from voters.
If Republicans end up underperforming next year for an out-of-power party during a midterm, it could very well be because they didn’t have a satisfactory answer on a problem that has killed many Americans and interrupted the lives of many more.