Republicans See Big Gains Against Inflation, Crime Near Midterm: Poll

Republicans are gaining support from voters on key issues like inflation and crime with less than two weeks until the midterm elections, according to a new poll.

Economy, crime and abortion are three issues that dominated the 2022 midterm elections. Republicans have tried to link Democrats to economic problems such as high inflation and gas prices, and rising crime rates across the country. Meanwhile, Democrats — who are largely on the defense in key races — have attacked Republicans for their opposition to reproductive rights, an issue that rose to prominence after the Supreme Court fell Roe v. calf in June.

Republicans are widely expected to at least turn over control of the House — with Democrats having a narrow advantage to retain control of the Senate. Typically, the President’s party sees losses during their first half.

A new ABC News/IPSOS poll suggests Republicans’ messages about the economy and crime could pay off as Election Day approaches. The poll polled 618 registered voters Oct. 21-22 and has a margin of error of 4.2 percentage points.

Republicans benefit from economy and crime ahead of the midterms
Above, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks during a press conference in Washington, DC September 28. As McConnell and other Republicans hope to reverse majorities in Congress, Republicans have gained ground on crime and economic issues with about two weeks to go until the mid-election.
SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

Republicans lead on economic issues

The economy remains one of the most important issues for many voters. Inflation and high gas prices, felt over the summer, shaped the Republican message.

Overall, 38 percent of registered voters said they trust Republicans more on the economy, while 24 percent said they trust Democrats more. Asked specifically about inflation, 38 percent of registered voters trusted the GOP to curb inflation, while 21 percent said they trusted the Democrats more on this issue.

Republicans have blamed Democrat spending for economic woes, particularly COVID-19 relief packages, which critics said have caused high rates of inflation. They have promised to rein in and cut unnecessary spending if they gain control of Congress, in a message they hope swing voters will resonate with.

Democrats have defied messages from the GOP, pointing to external factors such as the war between Russia and Ukraine pushing up gas prices. President Joe Biden also passed a deficit reduction bill known as the Inflation Reduction Act and has tapped more than 200 million barrels of oil from strategic reserves to ease pumping pains.

Crime-promoting Republicans in key races

Crime is another issue Republicans are focusing on that has resonated with voters and gives them an advantage in key states. The focus on crime has even allowed the GOP to sneak into more solid Democratic territory, including the New York gubernatorial race, where incumbent Kathy Hochul finds herself in a closer-than-expected race against Republican challenger Lee Zeldin.

Republicans blame the rise in crime on progressive criminal justice reform policies — including reform of cash bail, which they say will get dangerous criminals out of prison. Democrats blame rising crime on economic insecurity caused by the pandemic, the war in Ukraine and other social tensions.

According to the poll, 37 percent of voters trust Republicans will do a good job of preventing crime from rising if they regain control of Congress. Only 22 percent of voters trust the Democrats more. Ten percent trust both parties to fight crime, while 30 percent of voters believe neither party is well equipped to deal with rising crime.

Democrats have advantages over abortion, Russia

While Republicans are gaining big on crime and the economy, Democrats are using abortion to cut losses. They have labeled Republicans, some of whom support a national abortion ban, as extra-mainstream. Close-race Republicans say states should be allowed to regulate medical procedure and oppose calls for a federal abortion policy.

Democrats have built significant support for abortion. According to the survey, 48 percent of registered voters trust them more when it comes to having an abortion. Only 25 percent of respondents said they trust Republicans on this issue. Four percent said they trusted both parties, and 22 percent said they didn’t trust either.

Voters also narrowly support the Democrats in the Russia-Ukraine war. Biden has so far expressed strong support for Kyiv, providing humanitarian and military aid experts who say they have turned the tide of the war in Ukraine’s favor. Thirty-one percent of registered voters trust the Democrats more on Ukraine, while 25 percent said they trust the GOP more.

news week turned to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) for comment. Republicans See Big Gains Against Inflation, Crime Near Midterm: Poll

Rick Schindler

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