Democrats' time to pounce: Republicans suddenly find themselves vulnerable ahead of midterms

Recent polling data suggests the race has moved 3-5 points to the Democrats in the last few weeks

Published July 15, 2022 7:35AM (EDT)

Mitch McConnell and Joe Biden (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty images)
Mitch McConnell and Joe Biden (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty images)

With the approval of the Republican Party plummeting and gas and commodity prices declining, Democrats suddenly have an opportunity to go on offense this midterm cycle by touting the success of the pandemic recovery — and contrasting that with the draconian proposals offered by the alternative. 

To do this, Democrats must center the innovation and grit of the American people and show how we are transitioning from a rapid recovery to sustainable growth. Republicans, by contrast, have devolved into a cult beholden to Donald Trump, doubling down on their support for him despite the shocking revelations of the January 6 commission.

Should they retake Congress, Republicans' economic plan consists of taxing the lower and middle class and offering no solution for dealing with inflation. The one thing they can claim credit for, successfully striking down Roe V. Wade, is one of the most wildly unpopular actions ever taken by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe is driving voter motivation for Democrats. 62% of voters say they are more motivated to vote in November after the decision. 62% say they are more motivated to vote for Democrats, including 55% of Independents. Just 27% say it makes them more likely to vote for Republicans in November.

According to veteran Democrat political strategist Simon Rosenberg, recent polling data suggests the race has moved 3-5 points to the Democrats in recent weeks. 11 polls have been released on the generic congressional perference since Roe ended. Seven of the 11 polls — more than half — show meaningful movement towards the Democrats and give significant leads in the generic polling. 

RELATED: Midterm support for Democrats soars after Supreme Court strikes down abortion access

In new comprehensive polls of battleground states, Future Majority found the generic ballot for congressional preference shifting from 43 Democrat - 45 Republican in March to 44-42 now, a four-point swing. Another new survey of voters from Navigator finds a 24 point drop in GOP favorability with independents and 10 points overall. This shift is very significant in a short time and further confirms data that the national landscape is suddenly becoming better for Democrats. 

A review of recent Senate polling suggests that if the election were held today, Democrats would retain the Senate and perhaps even pick up a few seats. The New York Times gave a significant Senate overview, which showed that in Arizona, Georgia, New Hampshire, and Nevada, Democrats are leading their GOP counterparts.  

With Republicans cratering with Independents and Democrats consistently leading in the generic ballot, it is a new, competitive cycle. Democrats now must seize this moment and make our case to voters about how left-leaning policies have strengthened our country's economy.  

In 2020 the economy was in free fall. The racial employment gap was historically high. We have closed that gap today, adding 372,000 jobs to a strong labor market in June. The unemployment rate is currently 3.6% for the fourth month, just above a 50-year low. Average hourly wages grew 5.1% in June compared to last year. President Biden has created 4.5 times more jobs in 17 months than the previous 3 GOP Presidents combined over 16 years.

Gas and commodity prices have finally begun to decrease, in a needed reprieve from rising inflation and a hopeful sign that it may be starting to level off. Crude oil has fallen more than 8% and is trading at less than $100 per barrel for the first time since early May. U.S. oil production is at an all-time high, and the national average gas price declined for the third week after increasing following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The average price of a gallon of gas is now sitting at about $4.70, more than 33 cents less than when prices peaked last month. 

While commodity and gas prices continue to drop, we are increasing domestic economic output. The construction of new manufacturing facilities in the U.S. has soared 116% over the past year, dwarfing the 10% gain on all building projects combined. Massive chip factories are being built in Phoenix: Intel is making two outside the city. Aluminum and steel plants are being erected all across the south. This new semiconductor and steel output will help increase economic productivity domestically. Perhaps the most obvious sign that things are improving: this July, the baby formula plant at the center of recent shortages reopened this month. Finally, our global supply chain is improving; $ 20,000 container import costs are now down to $10,000, and shipping times are down by 35%. While we are not yet back to pre-pandemic times, things are trending in the right direction.

Democrats have helped lead a strong recovery and have made critical investments in our economy and the American people. They have effectively led Americans through tough challenges – COVID, Ukraine, and the ups and downs of the economy. 

Our country is better today than it was in 2020 — thanks to the resilience of the American people. Democrats must highlight and speak to the hard work and accomplishments they are responsible for to win. They must show the contrast with the toxicity of the divisive culture war rhetoric of the GOP. Voters must be informed and reminded of how toxic and out of control the Republican Party has become.

By Kristian Ramos

Kristian Ramos is a political strategist based in Washington, D.C.

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2022 Elections Abortion Analysis Democrats Economy Joe Biden Polls Roe V. Wade