Democrats plot escape from Biden poll woes

Most Democrats fear that Biden’s poll numbers – with approval hovering in the low 40s – could lead to a beating at the polls. With historic headwinds and a GOP-dominated redistribution process already working against them, they fear that unless Biden backs off his current slide, Congress will be handed over to Republicans midway through the year. next.

Even the party’s own polls put the president in the red. A poll by the House Democrats’ campaign wing earlier this month showed the president was in battlefield districts across the country, with 52% of voters disapproving of the job he is doing, according to three party members informed of the data.

Of course, the election is 11 months away, an eternity in politics. Democrats say once they finally land their full platform, Biden will recover, as will their chances of retaining their slim majority. But there are a lot of questions about Biden’s position. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), For his part, said Biden’s recent numbers were “frightening.”

“We are currently going through a difficult period. One of the challenges we have is that we have legislated this year, as it did, ”said Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, whose state represents the best chance for Democrats to secure a seat in the United States. Senate held by the GOP. “While you are legislating, you are not communicating. “

Just three years ago, the unpopularity of former President Donald Trump brought down the GOP House majority, although a favorable card helped Republicans retain the Senate. Biden and Democrats in Congress could face a similar dynamic next year. They only have a handful of vulnerable Senate seats, but a veritable cavalcade of risky seats in the House.

But even a favorable Senate card might not be enough. Morning Consult found Biden underwater in the battlefield states of Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Nevada and Arizona. Democratic senators typically get ahead of the president, according to the House Democratic campaign poll – the question is how much do they have to do to win.

Democrats admit they have a big problem. Their proposed antidote: end the battles to legislate as quickly as possible, then spend their next few months talking about their infrastructure and coronavirus relief laws, as well as their next social spending bill.

“This might be the first time the Democratic Party has been disciplined on a message,” said Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.). “But theoretically, we could finish a historic year of legislating for the middle class next month and spend our entire next year talking about what we’ve been doing.”

Still, some fear that even if they pass Biden’s agenda item – the $ 1.7 trillion climate and social policy bill – it won’t make the big dent in the polls. that Democrats hope. House Ways and Means chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) Advised his party to focus on “credit foreclosure.”

“The messaging challenge is pretty obvious. When you look at the different parts of what we’ve done, they’re not all marginally popular, but they’re hugely popular with the American electorate, ”Neal said.

Although the bill is a massive restructuring of the country’s social safety net, voters will not realize many of its benefits for years to come. And if the pandemic and a faltering economy still dominate the headlines next year, voters might not be moved by a single law, according to lawmakers from both parties.

Biden’s inner circle prides itself on ignoring outside noise to focus on his agenda – and that includes the concern of Democrats. But assistants are also aware that the sentiment is not shared by everyone in their party, many of whom are increasingly nervous about their chances halfway through next year and attribute some of the blame to them. bad polls from Biden.

Despite the great anxiety, don’t necessarily expect Democrats to run away from the president. Outgoing Senator Maggie Hassan (DN.H.) said that although her current focus is on legislation, “the president is still welcome in New Hampshire.” And an assistant to outgoing Senator Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-Nev.) Said she would campaign with him, calling him an “important ally.”

Biden has suffered several setbacks since the summer: The tumultuous U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan has undermined the administration’s central jurisdiction argument. Democrats suffered a stinging defeat in the race for governor of Virginia. And the policy of managing the pandemic remains supremely delicate for the party in power.

Senator Thom Tillis (RN.C.) has said that while Biden’s approval rating remains close to or even a little better than his current levels, he sees Democrats with no chance of claiming the other open Senate seat of its state.

“He’s got a perfect storm of bad issues,” Tillis said of Biden’s prospects in North Carolina. “At the moment, we have an excellent chance of gaining a majority in the Senate.”

White House aides believe Biden’s poll numbers are directly related to the recent surge in Covid cases and, therefore, his approval will resume once the cases fade away. They recognize that Americans elected Biden to handle the pandemic and that voters are now frustrated that the nation is heading into its virus-clouded second winter.

This means that the new Omicron variant, while its severity remains uncertain, further complicates Biden’s possible resurgence. Although they face the current political winds and trends that favor the ruling party, advisers believe that by next summer there could be a confluence of good news for Democrats. Cases of the virus could fall in warmer weather, inflation should start to subside, and Americans will begin to feel the tangible benefits of the party’s platform.

“The election is a year away, and I think we don’t even know what the election will be about. If you come back two years ago, Covid wasn’t even a thing, ”said Senator Mark Kelly (D-Arizona), who is running for re-election.

West Wing aides also believe that highlighting Republicans’ opposition to coronavirus relief and the social spending bill will pay off.

White House spokesman Andrew Bates argued that, as the President battles the pandemic and inflation, “Republicans in Congress are acting to help Covid spread, making the global problem worse. inflation and raise taxes on the middle class to protect tax freebies to the rich. “

“When we can tell this story, when we can talk about what it means to them in their day to day lives, we will let the politics unfold where they can,” said Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.), Member of Direction of the house.

But many Democrats on the battlefield say privately they are very skeptical of this positive turn and are using their own tactics to ensure they push the Republican challengers back into the most difficult seats to defend. next year.

“I would love to see his numbers change, just because I think there is a false narrative in many cases about supply chain shortages, gas prices or whatever,” said vulnerable Representative Susan. Wild (D-Pa.). But, she added, “I care more about my own numbers.”

“I honestly believe that in my district, and in many districts, it is a mistake to try to tie your election or re-election to a president.”

Olivia Beavers and Sarah Ferris contributed to this report.

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