Republicans charge crime, inflation, and border will drive 2022 Biden rebuke
Top Republicans say inflation fears, rising crime, and lax border security are developing into a voter backlash against President Joe Biden that is poised to deliver the House majority to the GOP in the 2022 midterm elections.
In fresh polling from the National Republican Congressional Committee, “seven out of 10 voters in battleground districts express high levels of concern about rising prices and the higher cost of living. … Voters in these battleground districts trust Republicans over Democrats in Congress to deal with crime and public safety,” while independents and Hispanics disapprove of Biden’s handling of the “border crisis” by 23 percentage points. The NRCC polled 85 battleground House districts July 8–15.
“Democrats are the party of 'defund the police,' and the voters know it,” said Rep. Tom Emmer of Minnesota, the NRCC chairman, during a Thursday morning video news conference with reporters. How confident is Emmer? More than a year before the general election, he is declaring some veteran Democratic incumbents defeated.
“Ron Kind in Wisconsin’s 3rd Congressional District — he’s not coming back,” Emmer said. “If he chooses to run for reelection, he’s going to lose.” Kind, a Democrat, has been in office for more than two decades and managed to survive amid Wisconsin’s competitive political environment.
Some Democrats on the Left are big proponents of reducing taxpayer funding for local law enforcement. Republicans believe this issue is a winner as the midterm elections approach, especially with polling showing that anxiety over rising crime is resonating with voters, although Biden continues to state his opposition to defunding the police and, during a televised town hall meeting on CNN on Wednesday evening, said more police officers should be on the beat, not less.
"We need more policemen, not fewer policemen. But we need them involved in community policing. Community policing," the president said.
House Democrats won the majority in a 40-seat swing in 2018 in a rebuke of former President Donald Trump driven by suburban discontent. Two years later, Republicans flipped 14 Democrat-held districts, putting them five seats short of the majority heading into 2022, Biden’s first. Historically, the party out of power in the White House picks up seats in the midterm elections. The decennial redistricting process also is expected to boost Republicans.
Emmer said the NRCC is targeting 58 districts that either backed Trump last year or narrowly supported Biden, plus others. Additional findings from the NRCC’s survey of key House districts include:
- “When asked who or what is most responsible for the recent rising prices and the higher cost of living, President Biden (23%) and Democrats in Congress (19%) top the list. Voters are four times as likely to blame the President and Congressional Democrats (combined 42%) than they are Congressional Republicans (10%).”
- “Voters trust Republicans over Democrats in Congress on dealing with rising prices and the higher cost of living by a 4-point margin (44% GOP – 40% DEM) and continue to trust Republicans more on the issue of jobs and the economy (45% GOP – 42% DEM). The Republican advantage on jobs and the economy grows to +12 among voters in ticket-splitting districts (52% GOP – 42% DEM).”
- "Nearly three-fourths of Battleground District voters (73%) say the country’s crime rate has increased and close to half (43%) say the crime rate in their own communities has increased recently." “
- "By a nine-point margin, [respondents] also believe Republicans in Congress are better able to deal with this [rising crime] than Democrats (49% GOP – 40% DEM).”
- “Border security ranks second (23%) to the economy and jobs (25%) as the most important issue for the President and Congress to focus on. It’s the top issue among Republicans and tied for the top issue among Independents.”
- “President Biden’s job approval rating on this issue remains dismal (38% approve – 55% disapprove). In fact, 43% of all voters in these districts strongly disapprove of Biden’s handling of the issue (only 13% strongly approve).”