Will Americans vote Their Pocketbooks this November?

Jun. 20, 2018
by Bob Adelmann

James Carville, Bill Clinton’s campaign advisor for the 1992 presidential campaign, gave Clinton good advice: he should remind his audiences every chance he got that his campaign should focus on three themes:

Change versus more of the same,

It’s the economy, stupid, and

Don’t forget health care.

The one that continues to resonate through the years is Number 2. And it’s very likely to extend the Republicans’ advantage in both houses of Congress come November.

Pocketbook issues certainly influenced the 2016 presidential election, especially among young voters between 18 and 26. According to a Bank of America poll taken just before that election, two out of three of them intended to “vote with their pocketbooks in this upcoming president election,” according to its survey.

Democrats have been looking out the rear window of history and counting on that history (the incumbent party usually loses ground in the midterms) to wrest control of the House away from Republicans, and perhaps shrink the Republican advantage in the Senate.

But the latest polls and economic numbers are increasingly likely to turn Democrats’ dreams into a nightmare. When more than 1,500 American citizens were asked how they felt about the direction of the country during the first two weeks in June, Gallup noted on Monday that 38 percent of them said they “are satisfied with the way things are going in the United States today.” This is the highest percentage recorded since September 2005.

Notable was that satisfaction among people surveyed by Gallup was just 22 percent going into the November 2016 elections. In addition, the satisfaction rate measured by Gallup has now topped 35 percent three times this year, “a level reached only three times in the previous 12 years,” according to the pollster.

Also notable was that the gains were among Republicans, only 29 percent of whom were satisfied in the previous survey conducted in April, and among independents, only 25 percent of whom were then satisfied with the country’s direction. Democrats, on the other hand, were steadfastly, determinedly negative in their assessment, with just 13 percent expressing satisfaction with the country’s direction in both polls.

That’s been the operating principle of Democrats since Trump’s election: oppose the man and his policies every step of the way. That opposition is more than likely to cost them dearly in November as Trump’s numbers continue to improve along with the economy’s. In a separate poll released on Monday by Gallup, the president is “earning his highest approval rating since shortly after he took office.” His approval rating hit 45 percent, matching Trump’s highest rating touched nine days after his inauguration. Gallup’s results were also confirmed by Rasmussen Reports, which reported on Monday that 48 percent of likely U.S. voters approve of his performance.

If voters hold true to form, history notwithstanding, not only is the Democrat’s “blue wave” likely to vanish, but in its place could come a “red wave” that extends Republicans’ present advantage in both houses come November.



Background on James Carville

USAToday: Young Americans plan to vote with their pocketbooks

Gallup.com: Satisfaction With U.S. Direction Reaches 12-Year High

TheHill.com: Satisfaction with US direction highest since 2005: Gallup

CBN.com: Latest Gallup Survey Reveals Satisfaction with US Direction at 12-Year-High

Rasmussen Reports: Right Direction or Wrong Track

Business Insider: Trump’s approval rating just reached its highest level yet in the gold standard of presidential indicators

The Hill: Poll: Trump approval rating ties highest point of his presidency

Rasmussen Reports: Daily Presidential Tracking Poll

Reuters: U.S. housing starts jump to near 11-year high, permits fall

CNBC: The US economy suddenly looks like it’s unstoppable

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