Pew’s political typology study always offers a comprehensive look at attitudes toward both parties — and this year is no exception. But while the results offer the most clues about the long-term direction of the country’s politics, it also tells us some important things about the 2014 midterm election.
- Democrats looking for a break from the glut of pessimistic news about the upcoming election won’t find it here. The survey finds that outside of their hardened liberal base, support for the party and President Obama has dropped precipitously and across-the-board since 2012. The drop-off is most acute among a group Pew calls “Hard-Pressed Skeptics,” which is older, whiter, and more downtrodden than the average Democrat. They overwhelmingly backed Obama in 2012, 65 percent to to 25 percent, but now a plurality of them, 48 percent, disapprove of his performance.
- This is a voting bloc Democratic incumbents in blue-collar states like Mark Pryor, Mary Landrieu and Mark Begich must reach to win reelection. They have some reason to think they can: Most Hard-Pressed Skeptics think government should do more to help the poor, and only one-quarter of them think the GOP cares about the middle class. With the right populist Democratic agenda and a smart outreach campaign, these voters could be persuaded to rejoin the Democrats. But doing so is still an uphill fight at a time when Democrats already have enough problems.
- Of course, persuasion is only half the battle. Democrats also need to make sure they show up to vote at all. The typology study shows Hard-Press Skeptics make up less than 10 percent of people who are politically engaged in America. It shouldn’t surprise that among the three groups Pew identifies as the most politically active, two are Republican while just one is Democratic. A lot of Democratic voters just aren’t that tuned in to elections, which explains the party’s traditional turnout problems in midterms.
Take a long look at the study — it’s worth your time. Just know if you’re a Democrat, you won’t find much reason for optimism.
— Alex Roarty
What We're Following See More »
"An emerging government funding deal would see Democrats agree to $15 billion in additional military funding in exchange for the GOP agreeing to fund healthcare subsidies, according to two congressional officials briefed on the talks. Facing a Friday deadline to pass a spending bill and avert a shutdown, Democrats are willing to go halfway to President Trump’s initial request of $30 billion in supplemental military funding."
The Michael Flynn story is not going away for the White House as it tries to refocus its attention. The White House has denied requests from the House Oversight Committee for information and documents regarding payments that the former national security adviser received from Russian state television station RT and Russian firms. House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz and ranking member Elijah Cummings also said that Flynn failed to report these payments on his security clearance application. White House legislative director Marc Short argued that the documents requested are either not in the possession of the White House or contain sensitive information he believes is not applicable to the committee's stated investigation.
The U.S. deployed "F-35 joint strike fighters" to Estonia on Tuesday. The "jets will stay in Estonia for several weeks and will be a part of training flights with U.S. and other NATO air forces." The move comes at a time of high tension between the U.S. and Estonia's neighbor, Russia. The two nations have been at odds over a number of issues recently, most of all being Vladimir Putin's support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in light of Assad's chemical weapons attack on his own people in the midst of a civil war.