by Newt Gingrich, Gingrich 360
Three recent polls signal hope for Republicans and disaster for Democrats.
Democrats enjoyed a moment of optimism when Quinnipiac reported on a Jan. 25-26 survey that President Joe Biden was beating President Donald Trump 50 percent to 44 percent. There was a sudden wave of stories about a Biden comeback.
From President Trump’s standpoint, the news keeps getting better. His next test is the South Carolina Republican Presidential Primary on Feb. 24. A recent Washington Post-Monmouth poll shows him leading Ambassador Nikki Haley 58 percent to 32 percent with less than three weeks to go. Morning Consult has the contest at 68 percent for Trump and 31 percent Haley.
President Biden, however, may be the weakest president in modern times. The national numbers have huge implications for Democrats and Republicans.
According to the NBC poll, 76 percent of Americans believe Biden will not be able to serve effectively as president for four more years. Fifty-nine percent strongly feel that way. Since his cognitive abilities seem to be continually slipping, it is hard to imagine these people re-electing him.
Conflicts involving Hamas, the Houthis, Hezbollah, and Iran sponsored terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq are only getting worse. There have been more than 180 attacks on American troops in the Middle East. Most Americans are regularly being reminded that the world is dangerous. A cognitively incompetent Commander in Chief represents a threat to national security. The prospect of Vice President Kamala Harris becoming president may clinch the anti-Biden vote.
The decay in support for President Biden is across the board according to the NBC poll. Biden carried 59 percent support from Latinos in 2020. He is now virtually tied with Trump with the group. Latinos support Trump with 42 percent and Biden with 41 percent. In fact, only 35 percent of Latinos approve of the job President Biden is doing.
The Democrats must be especially worried about Biden’s collapse among younger voters. Among 18- to 34-year-olds, Biden and Trump are tied at 42 percent support each. Even among younger voters, ages 18 to 29, Biden is only ahead by 8 points, (46 percent to 38 percent). This was a group he carried by a big margin in 2020. This collapse among younger Americans is occurring despite Biden waiving student loan payments, going all-out on radical climate issues, pandering to the transgender community, and using TikTok.
The great danger for the Democrats is not that younger Americans are going to swing decisively to President Trump. It’s that they may simply stay home. If turnout in Madison, Wisc., Ann Arbor, Mich., and other huge universities collapses, then Trump will likely carry those states.
Every Democrat who does not cast a ballot is a lost vote for Senate, House, state legislature, governor, etc. This collapse of enthusiasm can create a tidal wave effect as turnout collapses and the votes simply aren’t there for anyone on the ticket.
One indication of President Biden’s youth vote problem is that 70 percent of young Americans disapprove of his support for Israel against Hamas. The longer the wars in the Middle East go on, the more trouble President Biden will have with younger voters. This is compounded by the defection among Muslim Americans, which could be decisive in Michigan. College students are apparently referring to Biden as “genocide Joe.” That’s a nightmare for the Democratic Party.
Finally, beyond personality challenges, the gap in who can handle issues better is large and consistent:
- On dealing with the border and immigration, it’s Trump up 35 points.
- On handling crime and violence, it’s Trump plus 21 points.
- On keeping the economy strong, Trump leads by 20 points.
- On keeping America stronger, it’s Trump plus 11 points.
- Biden only leads on abortion (by 12 percent) and protecting immigrants (by 17 percent).
On personal characteristics there is a similar mismatch:
- Trump has a 23-point advantage on who has better physical and mental health.
- Trump has a 16-point advantage on who is more competent and effective. (In 2020, Biden had a 9-point advantage on this topic.)
Even on protecting democracy – which Biden has made a major talking point – he only leads Trump by two points (43 percent to 41 percent).
I am reminded of an enormous political shift in 1980. At the time, there was a deep pessimism. There was a sense that the future would be bleak – or at least mediocre (remember President Jimmy Carter’s so-called “malaise speech”).
Then-candidate Ronald Reagan came with a positive attitude. He would say “America’s best days are ahead” and “you ain’t seen nothing yet.” He ultimately carried more electoral votes against an incumbent president than in any other election in history.
Today, by 73 percent to 27 percent, Americans believe the country is on the wrong track.
In the style of Reagan, Republicans must focus on producing positive, common sense solutions – and communicating that we can fix things. They must replace problems with opportunities and work to make American lives better.
If they can do those things, the stage could be set for an extraordinary American victory. People who never before thought about voting Republican may decide that a positive, optimistic future is more important than politics.
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