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OVERTURN OF ROE VS. WADE INCREASES LIKELYHOOD TO VOTE DEMOCRATIC, BUT STUDENT DEBT RELIEF HAS LITTLE NET EFFECT ON DEMOCRATS’ OUTLOOK
MOST AMERICANS WANT A NEUTRAL SPECIAL MASTER AFTER DOJ’S TRUMP RAID AND THEY OPPOSE BIDEN CALLING MAGA REPUBLICANS AN EXISTENTIAL THREAT TO THE COUNTRY
NEW YORK and CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Stagwell (NASDAQ: STGW) today released the results of the September Harvard-CAPS Harris Poll, a monthly collaboration between the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard (CAPS) and the Harris Poll.
President Joe Biden’s approval rating remains underwater at 41% and inflation is still the biggest concern for voters, over half of whom say the Inflation Reduction Act is more likely to increase rather than decrease inflation. But the midterms are competitive, with the Congressional ballot split at 51% Democrat, 49% Republican.
Results also show the FBI’s raid of Donald Trump’s residence has not hurt the standing of the former president, whom voters would still pick in a presidential election over Joe Biden if the 2024 election were held today,. Americans are evenly split on whether the raid was politically motivated, but a clear majority, 58%, think appointing a special master to review the documents taken by the Department of Justice is reasonable.
Other topics surveyed in this month’s poll include voter views on Biden’s Philadelphia speech and his criticism of MAGA Republicans, which is seen as divisive; the president’s student debt cancellation which has received a lukewarm reception ahead of the midterms; and voters’ call for a special prosecutor to investigate the Hunter Biden laptop story. Download key results here.
“The dynamics for a Republican surge are here but the Democrats have held the dam as the midterms remain a dead heat,” said Mark Penn, Co-Director of the Harvard-CAPS Harris Poll and Stagwell Chairman and CEO. “The Democrats’ most recent moves may have killed their momentum, though, as most Americans disapproved of Biden’s speech calling MAGA Republicans a threat to the country. His executive order canceling student debt has not attracted new voters, either. Americans want less politicization, not more.”
DEMOCRATS HOLD THE DAM AS INFLATION REMAINS TOP CONCERN
- Biden’s approval has ticked up slightly to 41% as voter sentiment on his administration’s handling of inflation and unemployment improve.
- The generic Congressional ballot remains tight, 51-49 in favor of the Democrats.
- Inflation remains the biggest concern for both Democrats and Republicans, followed by abortion rights for Democrats and immigration for Republicans.
- The Inflation Reduction Act faces skepticism: 53% of voters believe it will increase inflation.
DOJ RAID SPLITS THE COUNTRY WITHOUT HURTING TRUMP
- After the DOJ raided Mar-a-Lago, Trump is still the 2024 favorite: 6 in 10 GOP voters would pick Trump if the Republican presidential primary were held today. Trump would win the presidential election against Biden or Kamala Harris if it were held today.
- The raid is dividing Americans: Voters are evenly split on whether the Mar-a-Lago search was required by DOJ protocols or a politically motivated use of force, and whether the DOJ took more documents than the warrant allowed.
- Americans want the DOJ to use other methods: 60% think that if the DOJ wanted Trump’s documents, it should have asked a judge to order it through open court rather than use a search warrant to seize them. 58% think the appointment of a special master to assess what the DOJ took is reasonable.
BIDEN’s SPEECH ON MAGA REPUBLICANS IS UNPOPULAR AS AMERICANS WORRY ABOUT DIVIDING THE COUNTRY
- Biden’s September 1 speech in Philadelphia, in which he called Trump and MAGA Republicans a threat to the country, is viewed as divisive: 56% of voters, including 62% of Independents, opposed it.
- But Biden’s new rhetoric may motivate the base: 73% of Democrats think it is not a gross exaggeration to say that there are tens of millions of dangerous MAGA Republicans.
- Most Americans want Biden to be a unifying figure: 60% say a speech such as his September Philadelphia address divides and holds back the country, and 55% think Biden should be unifying the country instead.
- More Americans are concerned about the socialist left rather than MAGA Republicans gaining power, 55-45.
AMERICANS WANT TO INVESTIGATE THE HUNTER BIDEN LAPTOP STORY
- The Hunter Biden laptop story is not going away: 59% of Americans think the laptop story is genuine, not Russian disinformation. 63% of voters think the FBI helped suppress the story by telling tech companies it could be Russian disinformation.
- Americans are suspicious of the investigation process: 55% think the DOJ and FBI are slow-walking the Hunter Biden investigation to protect President Biden.
- 63% of voters think the DOJ should appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the Biden laptop.
BIDEN’S STUDENT LOAN RELIEF DOES NOT AFFECT MANY AMERICANS OR MAKE THEM WANT TO VOTE DEMOCRATIC
Americans are evenly split on Biden’s cancellation of up to $20,000 of debt for couples making up to $250,000.
- Only 17% of Americans say they will be personally helped by the program.
- Voters are skeptical of Biden’s method: 56% think it was wrong of Biden to act without Congress, and 52% think his executive order will ultimately be deemed unconstitutional.
- Debt relief is having little net effect on voters’ likelihood to vote Democratic: 35% say it will make them more likely to vote blue, but 37% say it will make them less likely.
The September Harvard-CAPS Harris Poll survey was conducted online within the United States from September 7-8, 2022, among 1,854 registered voters by The Harris Poll and HarrisX. Follow the Harvard CAPS Harris Poll podcast at https://www.markpennpolls.com/ or on iHeart Radio, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and other podcast platforms.
About The Harris Poll
The Harris Poll is a global consulting and market research firm that strives to reveal the authentic values of modern society to inspire leaders to create a better tomorrow. It works with clients in three primary areas: building twenty-first-century corporate reputation, crafting brand strategy and performance tracking, and earning organic media through public relations research. One of the longest-running surveys in the U.S., The Harris Poll has tracked public opinion, motivations, and social sentiment since 1963, and is now part of Stagwell, the challenger holding company built to transform marketing.
About the Harvard Center for American Political Studies
The Center for American Political Studies (CAPS) is committed to and fosters the interdisciplinary study of U.S. politics. Governed by a group of political scientists, sociologists, historians, and economists within the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University, CAPS drives discussion, research, public outreach, and pedagogy about all aspects of U.S. politics. CAPS encourages cutting-edge research using a variety of methodologies, including historical analysis, social surveys, and formal mathematical modeling, and it often cooperates with other Harvard centers to support research training and encourage cross-national research about the United States in comparative and global contexts. More information at https://caps.gov.harvard.edu/.
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It is my pleasure to bring you the findings our latest Harvard CAPS / Harris poll just before the long weekend. The survey was fielded among 1,308 registered voters earlier this week between June 28-29, 2022. (Link to the full poll here).
The country’s mood continues to worsen – “wrong track” metrics about the direction of the country (70% say we are on the wrong track) and the direction of the economy (71% wrong track) are the worst they have ever been in our poll, surpassing even the onset of the pandemic. Today 64% of voters indicate that their financial situation is getting worse, a figure almost double from the initial stage of the pandemic.
Biden’s re-election chances sink lower – his approval in June is at 38%, tied for the lowest it has ever been. Only 40% of voters today think Biden is mentally fit to serve as president (down from 48% one month ago), and 64% say he’s showing he is too old. Only a third of the Democratic base would support him in a presidential primary (though he leads the pack, this is still a very low figure of support for an incumbent).
Importantly, voters are asking for change — 71% of all voters do not want Biden to run for reelection and the plurality say it’s because he is a bad president. Similarly , 61% do not want Trump to run in 2024 either and they are largely divided as to why, with a third each saying Trump is erratic, he will divide America, and he’s responsible for Jan 6th. This observed aversion to the former and current president means a major opening for an independent presidential ticket – 60% would consider voting for a moderate independent candidate for president if Biden and Trump both ran.
Voters remain divided on whether Trump incited or encouraged the Jan 6th riots, but are leaning slightly towards saying ‘Yes’. Note that this is a highly partisan issue with deep partisan breaks. Further, while voters believe the commission hearings are harming Trump politically, a small majority remain concerned that the commission’s work is biased, that it is having the effect of dividing Americans further, and that it will be used to silence voices on the right.
Finally on SCOTUS’s decision to repeal Roe vs. Wade – 55% oppose the decision; 69% believe SCOTUS’ decision has created turmoil; however, a plurality believe abortion standards should be set by state legislatures (44%) compared to a Congressional vote (31%) or SCOTUS itself (25%). And despite the decision, 63% of voters view the court as legitimate and 59% believe it is wrong for democrats to call the court illegitimate.
Lastly, it looks like abortion may not have a major impact on midterm elections – voters are just as likely to vote Dem as they are GOP given the split nature of this issue.
These and more are covered in our monthly canvas of what America’s thinking on the hot issues of the day. As always feel free to reach out with questions and follow my podcast about the poll at www.MARKPENNPOLLS.com (full episode) or any of the following channels: @iHeartRadio, @ApplePodcasts, @Spotify, @Stitcher,@Google, @SoundCloud, @RadioPublic, @Tunein, @Castbox_fm, @Overcast, @Castro.
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