According to a recent study conducted by the centrist think tank Third Way ahead of Tuesday’s midterm elections, American voters believe that Democrats are equally extremist and out of touch with the nation’s values and interests as Republicans.
The Third Way document states that, “If Democrats manage to hold on to the House and Senate, it will be in spite of the party brand, not because of it.”
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Even in a time when Republican candidates are becoming more extreme and women’s fundamental rights are on the ballot, it continues, “there is ultimately no way for Democrats to establish and retain winning coalitions without fixing their tarnished brand.”
According to 59 percent of potential voters in the survey, both Republicans and Democrats have become more extremist in recent years. Democrats are viewed as “too extreme” by 55% of voters, 1 point more than Republicans, who are viewed as such by 54% of voters.
Voters gave themselves an average score of 5.6 on the right-leaning side of the ideological spectrum when asked to rank their ideological preferences on a scale of 1 to 10.
The @mattbai counter-argument to Democrats blowing it in the midterms.
“No focus-grouped slogan or silly listicle of priorities … was ever going to eclipse the voters’ daily reality.” https://t.co/1j4RirBebf
— Christopher Cadelago (@ccadelago) November 7, 2022
Voters gave Democrats in Congress an average distance from the ordinary voter of 2.6 points on a scale of 10, which equates to a score of 3. On the other hand, Republicans in Congress were typically only 1.7 points out, or 7.3 on the scale.
The polling data that shows Americans are drifting away from their party leaders and points to a razor-thin contest for control of Congress in the next midterm elections may be influenced by voters’ moderate self-identification. According to the Third Way study, 46% of swing voters said that neither party this year had chosen more moderate candidates for Congress.
Abortion and climate change are at the bottom of people’ priority lists, so Democrats are in the lead there, but they trail on topics that are at the top, like inflation and the economy or immigration and the border.
Notably, respondents appear to doubt Democrats’ ability to bring about change. For instance, Americans trust Democrats more than Republicans when it comes to funding education (52% to 33%), yet Democrats lag Republicans by 1 point when it comes to actually improving the educational system (43% to 44%).
In terms of voters’ perceptions of the party’s patriotism, Republicans lead by 10 points, 56 to 46 percent, and by 15 points, 58 to 43 percent, in terms of how much they value hard work.
NBC News poll:
Democrats have caught up to Republicans in election interest. An identical 73% of Democrats and Republicans express high interest in the midterms.
In NBC’s October poll, Republicans held a 9-point advantage in high voter interest, 78% to 69%.
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) November 6, 2022
Voters believe Democrats look down on individuals like them more than Republicans do, 46 percent to 44 percent, while they believe Republicans better prioritise the issues they care about and share their beliefs, 45 percent to 41 percent.
Democrats had a 44 percent to 41 percent advantage when asked if they look out for the middle class.
The study respondents also perceived this year’s Republican candidates as being more extremist than the Democrats, 44 percent to 37 percent.
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“The general election ahead of the midterms is close, and it’s anyone’s guess what the final margins in the House and Senate will be. But in order to maintain themselves as an acceptable alternative to Republicans’ growing extremism, Democrats must take on the long-term issue of persuading voters that they are the sensible, mainstream, and competent party, according to the Third Way analysis.
Democracy itself will be at jeopardy if Democrats are unable to change their party’s image before 2024, the article continues.
With a confidence interval of 3.5 percentage points, the Third Way poll, which was conducted from October 21 to October 28, interviewed 800 likely voters countrywide, including 200 swing voters.