Monday, May 14, 2018

Good News And Bad News For Democrats' 2018 Hopes

The good news is that the Democrats retain a 9 point lead in the congressional preference of voters this year (see top chart). A nine point advantage could well be enough to flip control of the House, and maybe even the Senate.

The bad news is contained in the second and third charts above. Some Democrats think that opposition to Trump will be enough to turn the coming election in their favor. That may be true for Democrats, but it is not enough for Independents -- and it will be Independents who decide which party prevails in November.

Note that only 31% of Independents say this election will be a vote against Trump, while a significant plurality of 46% say it will not be about Trump at all. Getting 39% of Independents is not a winning percentage for Democrats. They will need at least 50%.

The third chart shows something very troubling. It shows only 23% understand what Democrats will do if they get control of Congress, while a stunning 72% (nearly three out of four voters) say Democrats have not explained what they want to do.

That needs to change. Just opposing Trump or Republican policies is not going to be enough. Democrats need to clearly communicate what they are for -- not just what they are against. So far, they haven't communicated that.

I suggest they return to their roots with an economic agenda. They should champion a significantly higher minimum wage, protection of Medicare and Medicaid, expanding Social Security benefits (especially for the people receiving the low monthly benefit), solve Social Security's future funding problem by raising the cap on wages subject to FISA taxes, creating a public health insurance option to compete with private plans (lowering their cost), making it easier for workers to unionize, and abolishing the tax break given to companies exporting American jobs.

Americans need to know the Democrats will work for them -- not just against the Republicans (or Trump). They need to know that the Democrats have a plan. After all, they saw 8 years of Republican opposition to a Democratic president, only to learn that the Republicans didn't have a plan once they got the power to rule.

The charts above are from a CBS News / SSRS Poll -- done between May 3rd and 6th of a random national sample of 1,101 adults, with a 3 point margin of error.

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