No midterm massacre? Dubious USA Today poll claims Dems hold slight lead over GOP, with abortion beating inflation concerns

A new Suffolk University/USA Today poll might just shake up conventional wisdom about the midterms: it shows Democrats with a narrow 4% lead over the Republicans on the generic congressional ballot, with abortion taking the lead over inflation as the issue that’s nearest and dearest to voters.

The poll indicates that 44% of voters would tick the box next to a Democratic candidate if the election were conducted today, while only 40% said they would cast their vote for a Republican, with 16% indicating they were undecided. If accurate, the poll could spell bad news for the GOP’s prospects in the upcoming election; a June poll from Suffolk University also indicated that Republicans were losing support, showing at the time that Democrats and Republicans were tied at 40% when it came to the generic congressional ballot.

The economy still remained an important issue to voters for the midterms, with a 20% share among those polled saying it’s a top issue, but the poll also indicated that many seem to think that abortion is more important in this election cycle. Although inflation reached a record 40-year high in June, only 11% of voters agreed that it was the most important issue, with nearly 16% indicating abortion was more important.

The results of the poll aren’t entirely surprising, coming as it does shortly after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, and it’s unclear whether abortion will still be uppermost in many voters’ minds amid the accelerating press of events that are sure to change the dynamic by November.

Meanwhile, the economy was still the overall most important issue affecting the midterm elections, with 58% saying that they are eating out less often due to the spike in prices. At the same time, the economy has dipped into recession territory, with the second quarterly GDP dropping to an annual rate of 0.9% according to Commerce Department statistics.

Many economists define a recession as two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth, and that’s precisely what the data shows—although the government is busily trying to redefine what a recession is, rather than tackle the problem.

Despite the poll showing that Democrats have a slight lead over Republicans in the midterms, it’s a picture that’s likely to change in the coming months. For one thing, Biden’s approval ratings are steadily sinking, with the poll showing that only about 39% approve of his job performance—which makes you wonder what those people are smoking. A solid 76% believe that the country is not going in the right direction, which is a 5% increase since June.

On the other hand, the survey showed that 44% of those polled were less likely to vote for a candidate who was backed or endorsed by former President Donald Trump. So all the poll really tells us right now is that the midterms are still a toss-up and that the next few months are likely to be very exciting indeed.


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Todd Jaquith


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